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Bruce Willis, Robin Williams 
.John Lithgow speak! 




MARCH #224 


M\-«! w , 


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© 1995 Kabushiki Kaisha Warp. Under license to Acclaim Entertainment. Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sega and Sega Saturn are trademarks o! 
Sega Enterprises, Ud. All Rights Reserved. 'PlayStation" and the \& loao ate trademarks ol Sony Computet Entertainment. Inc. Acclaim is a 
division ol Acclaim Entertainment. Inc. © & © 1996 Acclaim Entertainment. Inc. All Rights Reserved. No purchase necessary. Void where pro- 
Sweepstakes ends March 31, 1996. For official rules write to PO Box 9006 Gten Cove. NY 1 1542-9006. Screen shots shown are taken 
PlayStation version of the videogame. 

Harrison Ford is 
always ready for 
adventure (see 
page 72). 

MARCH 1996 



Christian Duguay introck 
a new breed of Screamers 


is Bruce Willis a madman, 
messiah or mega-movie star? 


He's always willing to mat 
fun of his films & fr~ 


Not quite human, John 
Lithgow returns to SF 


Creating star war strategies 
is like plotting video games 


Chronicling Star Wars is X- 
wing pilot Michael Stackpole 


Even the President recalls 
Robinson Crusoe on Mars 



Years ago, Vic Lundin 
survived life on Mars 


p comes from the future, 
turally, to save the present 


Kristen Cloke finds peace 
in the combat of Space 


If adventure has a name, 
could he talk more about it? 


On the Satellite of Love, Trace 
Beaulieu reigns supreme 

STARLOG- The science Fiction universe is published monthly by STAR- 
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This is issue Number 224, March 1996. content is © Copyright 1996 by 
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As all fans know, nothing ever 
really ends in science fiction. 
So. The Six Million Dollar 
Man — the saga told in Martin 
Caidin's books, a few TV 
movies, the TV series and three 

movie during the show's 
1997 production hiatus 
(David Duchovny is com- 
mitted to another project — Play- 
ing God — to be lensed during 
this year's hiatus). Carter's 
agreement includes Millennium, 
a new SF series for Fox which is 
set in the year 2000 and may pre- 
miere this fall. By the way, yet 
another former STARLOG con- 
tributor. Brian Lowrv. sets 

Fans can look for the much-belated sequel, It Came From Outer 
Space II, now playing on the Sci-Fi Channel. 

follow-up/reunion telefilms — 
isn't over yet either. Universal 
Pictures is now planning a the- 
atrical version, to once again co- 
star (probably) series veteran 
Richard Anderson (who will be 
executive producing). Kevin 
(Mallrats) Smith is scripting. 
The whole project is under the 
stewardship of studio production 
executive Carr D' Angelo. STAR- 
LOG's former Managing Editor. 

Genre TV: Sinbad is on his 
way to television in an all-new 
syndicated, live-action fantasy 
series created by Ed Naha. Long- 
time STARLOG readers may 
recall Naha as the record produc- 
er of Gene Roddenberry's Inside 
Star Trek who later joined the 
STARLOG editorial staff. He 
edited the first issue of FANGO- 
RIA (under a pseudonym) and 
eventually served as the Editor of 
FUTURE LIFE. Later, he con- 
tributed to STARLOG as a free- 
lancer, penned a column for the 
New York Post and wrote mystery 
and SF paperback novels, includ- 
ing the first two RoboCop novel- 
izations. His work as a 
screenwriter includes Dolls and 
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. 

There will be an X-Files 
movie. It's a part of a new con- 
tract that series creator Chris 
Carter signed with 20th Century 
Fox. The intention is to shoot the 

involved in the news here. 
Lowry, now the TV Editor of 
Daily Variety, teamed with 
Carter to write The Official X- 
Files Companion (Harper- 
Collins, trade paperback, now in 

Viper is returning. The series, 
originally created by Danny Bil- 
son and Paul DeMeo. is being 
revived (with a new lead, Space 
Rangers' Jeff Kaake). It'll be 
syndicated by Paramount this 

Bill Mumy and Peter David 
have created Space Cases, a 
comedy SF adventure designed 
for kids. Nickelodeon and Cinar 
are producing 13 episodes in 
Montreal. The show premieres 
on Nickelodeon this spring. 

Updates: The Island of Dr. 
Moreau remake will premiere in 
fall 1996, not this summer. 

After two retoolings, frequent 
cast reshufflings and not quite 
three seasons, NBC torpedoed 
seaQuest 2032. 

UPN also finally terminated 
Deadly Games. 

Tom Hulce voices Quasimo- 
do — not Kevin Kline — in the 
Disney animated Hunchback of 
Notre Dame. Kline is a member 
of the cast, though. 

George Clooney won't be 
playing The Green Hornet after 
all. Instead, he'll star in the first 

DreamWorks SKG film. The 
Peacemaker (which concerns 
nuclear weapons smuggling). 

Fantasy Films: More addi- 
tions to the list of old TV series 
becoming movies in an ongoing 
display of Hollywood originali- 
ty: / Spy, McHale's Navy, Gentle 
Ben, The Rifleman and Wanted: 
Dead or Alive (which already 
inspired a 1987 film starring Rut- 
ger Hauer in a modern milieu: 
John Milius will write this one). 
In the meantime, thanks to The 
Brady Bunch Movie's success, 
there will be A Very Brady 

Jeremiah Chechik will direct 
the big-screen version of The 
Avengers from a script by Don 
McPherson. Shooting may start 
this summer. 

The Jetsons is scheduled for a 
1997 release. Production begins 
this year. 

Sequels: Look for a long- 
belated updating to debut as a TV 
movie on the Sci-Fi Channel Jan- 
uary 27 (with later encore air- 
ings). It's It Came From Outer 
Space II. Brian Kerwin. Eliza- 
beth Peha, Bill McKinney, Lau- 
ren Tewes and Howard Morris 

And that American Werewolf 
in London sequel finally has a 
studio (TriStar Pictures) and a 
definite start date (May). 
Anthony (Mute Witness) Waller 
will write and direct An Ameri- 
can Werewolf in Paris. 

Genre People: Kevin J. 
Anderson and Doug Beason have 
sold their latest SF collaboration 
to Universal Pictures. Universal 
plans a movie version of Igni- 
tion, their tale of a terrorist-sabo- 
taged space shuttle and the 
efforts to save it. 

Cliff Robertson has been 
elected President of the United 
States. Or at least that's the part 
he'll play in Escape from LA. 
Also in the cast are Steve Busce- 
mi. Stacy Keach and Bruce 

Patrick Stewart has signed to 
appear in the next Next Genera- 
tion film. It's now known as Star 
Trek: Resurrection. 

And it should come as no sur- 
prise that Star Trek: Generations 
to the contrary. James T. Kirk 
will be back. He'll be resurrected 
in Star Trek: The Return, the 
long-planned new hardcover 
from Pocket Books appearing 
late this spring. The book is 
bylined by William Shatner. And 
guess who isn't dead? Jim. 

— David McDonnell 

MARCH 1996 #224 

Business & Editorial Offices: 

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Financial Director: Joan Baetz 
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Staff: Jean E. krevor, Arwen Rosen- 
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ers; (Canada) Peter Bloch-Hansen, Mark 
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Christian Duguay, Michael Fleming, 
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non Ryan, Tammy Sandler. Tom Sarris, 
Alan Spencer, Michael Stackpole. John 
Vester, Jeff Walker, Jason Yungbluth. 
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right 1995 LucasArts Entertainment; 
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An old cupboard, which is 
given to a 9-year-old boy. 
has the power to transform toy 
figurines into real-life characters. 
The Indian in the Cupboard is 
the fantastic tale of young Omri. 
who confides in his best friend, 
Patrick, and while they conspire 
to keep their miniature friend a 
secret. Patrick wants his own toy 
brought to life and creates a 
flesh-and-blood cowboy named 
Boone, played by David Keith. 
Soon, the boys discover that 
there are awesome responsibili- 
ties and complications for those 
who play God. Hal Scardino 
stars as Omri with rap star Lite- 
foot as the miniature Indian. 
Frank Oz directs. The Indian in 
the Cupboard is sell-through 
priced at $22.95 in VHS from 
Columbia TriStar Home Video: 
the laserdisc, available this 
month, is 534.95 in CLV. 

Sylvester Stallone lays down 
the law as Judge Dredd in the 
Disney version of the popular 
British SF comic book hero. Cre- 
ated 1 8 years ago by John Wag- 
ner and Carlos Ezquerra for the 
then-new British comic maga- 
zine 2000 A.D., Dredd soon 
became popular everywhere. In 
this long-awaited film version. 
Dredd is framed for a murder he. 
of course, didn't commit. The 
action is abetted by some fancy 
special FX and computer 
imagery supervised by Joel 
Hynek and the animation team at 
Kleiser/Walczak. Judge Dredd is 
priced for rental only in VHS, but 
the CLV laserdisc is a more eco- 
nomical S39.95 from Image 

The recipient of two Acade- 
my Award nominations (Cos- 
tume Design and Sound) and the 
first feature film to venture forth 
inside the previously unex 
plored three-dimensional 
realm of computer imagery 

The Mad Hatter's throwing a party again as Alice in Wonderland gets the deluxe Archive 
Collection laserdisc treatment. 

TRON dazzles with revolutionary 
special FX and action sequences. 
TRON set an industry record for 
FX compositing with 1100 FX 
shots, 900 of them with human 
actors; another first was the 15 
minutes of computer graphics 
and animation created for the 
film that opened the door to a 
new era in fantasy filmmaking. 
This new pressing presents the 
film in its original widescreen 
aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 
accompanied by a parallel sec- 
ond audio channel that features 
running commentary from direc- 
tor Steven Lisberger, producer 
Donald Kushner and the co- 
directors of special effects. 
Richard Taylor and the ever-wry 
Harrison Ellenshaw. 

Fans can now sail into Kevin 
Costner's Waterworld — all with- 
out getting wet — in the privacy 
of their own homes. The mam- 
mothly budgeted SF adventure 
also features Dennis Hopper and 
Jeanne Tripplehorn. The VHS 
edition is priced for rental, but 
the widescreen THX laserdisc is 
$44.98 from MCA/Universal 
Home Video. 

Animation: Disney's 33rd 
animated feature, Pocahon- 
tas, debuts at the end of this 
month sell-through priced 

at only $26.99 in VHS. 

Both Alice in Wonderland 
and The Three Caballeros have 
received the deluxe Archive Col- 
lection treatment (laser only) 
from Disney Home Video. Each 
release comes as a boxed set 
packed with rarely seen or never- 
before-seen footage, concept art 
and character designs, classic 
interviews with talent and key 
production members and histori- 
cal background information on 
these classic films. Priced at 
$99.99 each, they offer a wealth 
of information for the Disneyphile. 

As a special bonus, Disney's 
sixth animated feature. Saludos 
Amigos is included in its entirety 
with The Three Caballeros. 
Released in 1943, Saludos Ami- 
gos intercuts live-action seg- 
ments of Disney artists visiting 
Latin America with four animat- 
ed sequences. Other extras exclu- 
sive to this laserdisc release 
include newly re-created 
reconstructions from the original 
pencil drawings of two animated 
sequences which were developed 
but never produced, a 1942 docu- 
mentary entitled South of the 
Border with Disney, Argentinean 
newsreel footage of Disney's 
visit to South America, the 
screen-test for Aurora Miranda. 

meanwhile, sails 
onto video this 

behind-the-scenes footage of the 
lensing of the Acapulco beach 
sequence in the Disney parking 
lot and other surprises. 

The Alice set includes Walt 
Disney's debut TV show, "One 
Hour in Wonderland." along with 
a rarely-seen 1951 promotional 
film entitled Operation Wonder- 
land and the world premiere 
broadcast of the score from Alice 
in Wonderland on the Fred War- 
ing Television Show from March 
1951. Supplemental audio mate- 
rials include more than 30 never- 
before -released demo recordings 
of songs for Alice — most of 
which never made it into the 
film — plus voice talent auditions 
and dialogue sequences, and two 
1951 broadcasts from the BBC. 

Cheap: Star Trek Genera- 
tions has been re-priced to sell- 
through level for only $14.95 in 
VHS from Paramount Video. 

Remo Williams: The Adven- 
ture Begins stars Fred Ward as a 
street-smart cop who awakens 
one day with a new face and 
identity. His mentor is Chiun 
(Joel Grey), the quirky master of 
Sinanju. Kate Mulgrew and Wil- 
ford Brimley co-star in the movie 
based on the Destroyer paper- 
back adventures by Warren Mur- 
phy and Richard Sapir. The VHS 
version is now priced at $14.98 
from Orion Home Video. 

A collection of 10 titles has 
been re-priced by MCA/Univer- 
sal Home Video: included are: 
Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness, 
Wes Craven's The People Under 
the Stairs and the two Conan 
adventures. Conan the Barbar- 
ian and Conan the Destroyer. All 
are now $14.98 each. 

— David Hutchison 

want the \uvmct! 





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Art: Trademark & Copyright 1995 Lucasfilm, Ltd. 


Well, Rookie One, now that 
you've destroyed the 
Death Star and thrown a serious 
monkey wrench into the 
Empire's plans, what'cha gonna 
do next? Here's an idea — play 
LucasArts Games' Star Wars: 
Rebel Assault II— The Hidden 
Empire ($59.99) on the IBM! Of 
course, you may be a little hesi- 
tant, and understandably so; 
after all, Darth Vader is cheesed, 

Think big with Star Wars 
Miniatures Battles. 

and plans to get his revenge on 
the Rebel Alliance by scouring 
the galaxy for a new weapon 
that'll put the Empire on top for 
good! And guess who has to stop 

Upon choosing or creating 
your own pilot, game play 
throughout Rebel Assault II fol- 
lows one of four models, includ- 
ing: "cockpit flight," in which 
you steer your ship via con- 
troller from the cockpit. Dodg- 
ing ships takes time, so plan 
ahead to stay away from obsta- 
cles; "ground combat." in which 
your controller aims your gun 
and enables you to take cover. 
While taking cover during some 
levels, you can use the controller 
to also select which direction to 
emerge from; "behind-ship 
flight." in which you maneuver 
your controller back to rise, for- 
ward to fall, or left/right to bank: 
and "point-of-view combat," in 
which the controller moves your 

Not surprisingly, Rebel 
Assault II offers killer graphics 

(greatly improved from 
the original, which was 
nothing to sneeze at), 
sounds and action, as 
well as a host of main menu 
capabilities. You can adjust 
basic and advanced settings, 
as well as numerous tuning 
values for the game's two 
custom skill levels. This "dif- 
ficulty editor" automatically 
keeps your entries within the 
range of reasonable values, 
and allows you to make 
changes throughout game 
play. A chapter menu also 
permits players to continue 
where they left off — provided 
they complete the previous 
chapter first. (It's always 

Like its predecessor. Rebel 
Assault II leads the pack into 
uncharted PC CD-ROM territo- 
ry. There's tons of brand new 
live-action footage incorporat- 
ing actual props and costumes 
used in the Star Wars films, 
adding authenticity to the adven- 
ture. Another cool element is 
that the game gives you a chance 
to pilot the Millennium Falcon, 
so whether you need a "Han" or 
want to go it "Solo," you're sure 
to be in for a one-in-a-million 

Small Stuff: Understand- 
ably, computer games can occa- 
sionally give you a big 
headache. Just remember — 
sometimes good things come in 
small packages, at least if you're 
West End Games. Case in 
point — Star Wars Miniature 
Battles (S35). This boxed set 
enables you to assemble an army 
of Star Wars miniatures to go 
into tabletop combat against 
your opponents. The winner of 
Origins' Best Miniatures Rules 
Award in 1991, Star Wars 
Miniatures Battles has been 
reprinted and revised to make it 
compatible with Star Wars: The 
Roleplaying Game, Second Edi- 
tion; owning the role-playing 
game is not a necessity, however. 
When pitting Rebel fighters 
against Imperial troops, fans of 
the previous edition will find the 
revised version's Movement 
Rate to be among the most 
altered, though all figures are 
affected equally by the change. 
Descriptions and procedures of 
weapons and equipment have 
also been clarified, as well as all 
charts, tables and record sheets. 
The boxed set includes the 
Miniature Battles rulebook 

Prepare your will before going on 
The DarkStryder Campaign. 

(available on its own for $18), 
12 lead-free metal Star Wars 
miniatures and five six-sided 

Further Rebellions: If 
small-scale wars don't suit you, 
then let's jump four years 
beyond the Battle of Endor with 
West End's Star Wars: The 
DarkStiyder Campaign ($30). 
This first boxed campaign set- 
ting for Star Wars: The Role- 
playing Game places you as a 
crew member of the Correllian 
Corvette FarStar in a task force 
assigned to brave Imperial-set- 
tled space and find rogue war- 
lord Moff Same before he can 
use DarkStryder technology 
against the New Republic. 
Unfortunately, Same and his 
personal fleet have fled from 
Kathol sector capital Kal'Sheb- 
bol. Even worse, his government 
records have been flash-erased, 
meaning the FarStar has no 
information on his forces or key 
military bases, and must instead 
rely on confiscated astroga- 
tion charts. No bases. No sup- 
ply stations for relief or 
back-up, either. In other 
words, get comfortable — you 
may be on the road a long 

The DarkStiyder Cam- 
paign boxed set features a 96- 
page Campaign Book which 
offers descriptions of the 
FarStar and her crew, as well 
as an introductory story by 
author Timothy Zahn and a 
poster, the front of which 
contains vital information on 
the FarStar and its fighters 
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Blade Runner 2: The Edge of 
Human by K.W. Jeter (Ban- 
tam, hardcover. 340 pp, $29.95) 
First and foremost, this is a 
sequel to Blade Runner the film. 
not to Philip K. Dick's Do 
Androids Dream of Electric 
Sheep? It would have been nice 
if those in charge of the Blade 
Runner license had let K.W. Jeter 
incorporate more of Dick's origi- 
nal novel into his book — bridg- 
ing the gap between the two. as it 
were — but this is not the case. 
Instead, this is a very solidly 
plotted book, firmly rooted in 
Ridley Scott's vision. Indeed. 
Jeter, through his writing, has 
managed to wonderfully capture 
and convey the feel of the film, 
and the reader truly feels like 
he's back in the Blade Runner 

Cleverly, Jeter has managed 
to build his plot around some 
inconsistencies and loose ends 
left from the picture. We meet the 
original human "templant" on 
whom Rachael (Tyrell's niece) 
and Batty were based. We also 
meet Deckard's partner, Dave 
Holden, who had been shot at the 
beginning of Blade Runner. The 
same continuity holds in the 
themes: There is a missing repli- 
cant. Could it be Deckard? Was 
Pris really a human? Who is 
human and who is a replicant? 
Does it ultimately matter? 

Jeter answers some questions 
but not others. The book's ending 
is somewhat unsatisfactory, 
because the plot's driving ele- 
ment — the destruction of the 
Tyrell Corporation — seems to be 
irrelevant, unmotivated. One 
can't help feeling that Jeter was 
instructed by the license holders 
to not do anything drastic to dis- 
turb the Blade Runner universe. 
As a result, he has to walk cau- 
tiously, and it shows. 

Would The Edge of 
Hitman make a good sequel 
to Blade Runner nonetheless? 
They certainly could do 
worse. Those who liked the film 
will undoubtedly like the book, if 
only because of Jeter's ability to 
take us by the hand and walk us 
again through this most fascinat- 
ing of universes. 

— Jean-Marc Lofficier 

Cradle of Splendor by Patricia 
Anthonv (Ace, hardcover, 304 
pp, $22.95) 

Patricia Anthony's Brother 
Termite was a remarkable use of 
the "little grey aliens are among 
us" theme. In Cradle of Splen- 
dor, she develops a variation on 
that concept by postulating that 
the Brazilians have gained access 
to alien technology and used it to 
become a space power, thereby 
upsetting the world's precarious 
political balance. 

Unfortunately. Anthony lets 
her basic premise get away from 
her. The problem with Cradle of 
Splendor is that it is neither fish 
nor fowl. It doesn't really deal 
with the details of how the 
Brazilians gained access to the 
aliens, the communication prob- 
lems, etc. It does not focus on the 
scientific and technological 
impact of anti-gravity on human 
sciences. Forget science fiction. 
Anthony also avoids the Tom 
Clancy route, and doesn't deliver 
a powerful techno-thriller about 
the CIA. Japanese spies and the 
political invasion of Brazil. 

There are some fine character 
moments in Cradle of Splendor. 
and some nice local color 
("Look, Ma, I'm in Brazil!"), but 
Anthony does not do this as well 
as someone like J.G. Ballard 
would. Ultimately, Cradle of 
Splendor comes across more as a 
cheap and tawdry spy thriller 
than anything else it could have 
been. Wasted potential. 

— Jean-Marc Lofficier 

Endymion by Dan Simmons 
(Bantam, hardcover, 480 pp, 


At last. Dan Simmons returns 
to the Hyperion Universe. 
Endymion begins about 300 
years after The Fall of Hyperion, 
in a galaxy where the Church has 
used the immortality conferred 
by the strange, parasitic cruci- 
form to establish a stagnant dic- 
tatorship over most of human 

This uneasy peace is shat- 
tered by the arrival, through the 
Time Tombs of Hyperion, of the 

promised messiah — "The One 
Who Teaches." already heralded 
in the earlier volume. Endymion 
is the story of the relentless pur- 
suit of this messiah, a young girl 
named Aenea, and her two pro- 
tectors, the eponymous Endy- 
mion and an android, by the 
forces of the Church, who want 
to seize her for their own, dark 

Endymion ends with a satisfy- 
ing, if incomplete, climax. It's 
clearly the first in a new series of 
novels — indeed, the novel is 
book-ended between chapters nar- 
rated by Endymion many years in 
his future. Endymion solves many 
of the mysteries left somewhat 
obscure in The Fall of Hyperion, 
while introducins new ones. 

The scope of Simmons' rich 
and complex universe can only 
be compared to that of Dune, but 
unlike the later novels in Frank 
Herbert's series, which seemed 
rambling and unfocused, Sim- 
mons appears to be fully in con- 
trol of his own creation. One 
wishes, however, that the author 
or his editor had seen fit to pro- 
vide the reader with a capsule 
recap of the events of Hyperion 
and The Fall of Hyperion. Highly 
recommended, but read the two 
previous volumes first. 

— Jean-Marc Lofficier 

Tech-Heaven by Linda Nagata 
(Bantam/ Spectra, paperback, 
368 pp, $4.99) 

A mix of sociological and 
technological speculation and 
intense characterizations. Linda 
Nagata's second novel puts her in 
the first rank of SF writers. 

The book covers the 30 years 
that Katie Kishida works, 
schemes and fights to preserve 
the frozen body of her husband 
Tom, and prepare, perhaps, for 
his resurrection. Around her. 
society debates the morality and 
economics of technoloaies that 

threaten traditional definitions of 
life and death, making her an 
outcast, criminal and murderer. 
On a personal level, there are 
conflicts with Ilene, a politician 
and Tom's sister, who honestly 
believes Katie's actions are 
wrong, and Roxanne. Katie's 
brilliant and perverse best friend, 
who both loves and hates Katie 
and Tom. Then, there's Gregory, 
who helped freeze Tom and who 
might help revive him, who 
loves, marries and deserts Katie 
before finally returning to share 
her fate. Through it all. some part 
of Tom — his soul? — roams an 
icy nightmare world searching 
for his Familiar, the spirit that 
won't let him die. 

Provocative, poignant and 
thrilling, Tech-Heaven succeeds 
on every level. 

— Scott W. Schumack 

Blindfold by Kevin J. Anderson 
(Warner/ Aspect, paperback, 
I 379 pp, $5.99) 

f Weak plotting sabotages a 
1 decent premise in this disap- 
3 pointing SF novel. 
S Troy Boren. a meek clerk 
Z falsely accused of murder, dis- 
•2> covers firsthand that the justice 
| system on the planet Atlas is col- 
^ lapsing when the "infallible" 
£• telepathic Truthsayers find him 
tf guilty and exile him to a prison 
satellite. Kalliana. the young 
Truthsayer who convicted him. 
realizes her error and tries to free 
him. but the failures of the Truth- 
sayers' Guild are linked to mur- 
ders on the prison satellite, 
growing civil unrest on Atlas and 
a generations-long plot against 
the freedom of this struggling 
colony world. 

Unfortunately. Troy and 
Kalliana. the supposed lead char- 
acters, are offstage most of the 
time and contribute nothing to 
the resolution of the plot, which 
isn't convincing anyway. After 
centuries of planning, the chief 
conspirator — the book's most 
interesting character — is undone 
by accidental discoveries and 
some last-minute brute force, an 
outcome that's neither satisfying 
nor plausible. 

There are enough loose ends 
for a sequel, but Kevin J. Ander- 
son, who has written better 
books, should consider leaving 
Atlas and moving on. 

— Scon W. Schumack 

The War Minstrels by Karen 
Haber (DAW. paperback, 304 
pp. S4.99i 

The first sequel to Woman 

12 STARLOG/Ma/r/; 1996 

Without a Shadow is pure space 
opera: fast, unpretentious and, 
unfortunately, dull. 

In her quest for revenge on the 
tyrants who killed her parents, 
Kayla John Reed, esper and 
pirate, entangles her crewmates 
on the starship Falstaff in a hunt 
for the Mindstar, a gem that 
amplifies psi powers. Along the 
way, she leads a prison ship rebel- 
lion, builds a rebel space fleet and 
wins battles against overwhelm- 
ing odds, all without working up 
much sweat or generating much 
excitement. Things improve 
toward the book's end when 
Kayla's obsession and the rebels' 
squabbling heat things up, but the 
novel is flat and prosaic, lacking 
the exotic fantasy or technical and 
military verisimilitude that enliv- 
en better adventure tales. 

There's at least one more vol- 
ume to come, and undemanding 
fans might enjoy the series, but 
given the price of paperbacks 
today, even they deserve better. 
— Scott W. Schumack 

Project Farcry by Pauline Ash- 
well (Tor, hardcover, 384 pp. 


This SF adventure for young 
adults starts and ends well, but its 

weak middle and episodic struc- 
ture keep it from full success. 

Young Richard Jordan tags 
along with his scientist father's 
expedition to the planet Lambda 
and finds that the telepathic abil- 
ities he has been hiding are the 
key to contacting the natives. 
Pauline Ashwell's human and 
alien cast is engaging, the land- 
scape and biology of Lambda is 
intriguing and the use of ESP as a 
metaphor for adolescent angst is 
satisfying. Unfortunately, after 
posing a staggering cosmic mys- 
tery, the story turns into an Earth- 
bound police yarn. Richard's 
experiences with telepathic cop 
Sebastian Karel are competently- 
done, but not nearly as interest- 
ing as the otherworldly adven- 
tures. In its last quarter, the book 
returns to space and a fine climax 
as the questions of human-Lamb- 
dan relations, the ultimate use of 
telepathy, the mystery of the 
missing planet and Richard's 
unwanted career as a military 
officer and bureaucrat come 
together. ' 

Hopefully. Ashwell will do 
better next time, for the best parts 
of Project Farcry are good 

— Scott W. Schumack 

Saturn's Child by Nichelle 
Nichols with Margaret Wander 
Bonano (Ace, hardcover, 304 
pages, $21.95) 

After nearly 30 years of inter- 
mittently playing Uhura on Star 
Trek. Nichelle Nichols has 
broadened her communications 
talents with this novel, and it's 
actually a stellar debut. 

When Earth dispatched her 
ship, Dragon's Egg, to explore 
Titan. Dr. Nyota Domonique 
never expected to make first con- 
tact with an alien species. With 
their chameleon-like, color-shift- 
ing skin, emerald eyes and indigo 
hair, the Fazisians are as beauti- 
ful as they are telepathically gift- 
ed. Just as Nyota never expected 
to encounter aliens, the Fazisian 
colony leader, Tetrok. never 
expected to fall in love with an 
Earthling. Tetrok will one day 
rule Fazis Prime, and the result 
of his and Nyota's love could one 
day spell disaster for all of them 
if it falls into the hands of Valton, 
Tetrok's jealous, scheming 
cousin — and closest competition 
for Ruler of Fazis. 

As with all collaborations, 
readers should wonder how 
much is Nichols' and how much 
is Maraaret Wander Bonano's. 

but they make a very successful 
writing team. No doubt people 
will buy this book because of 
Nichols' name and her associa- 
tion with Star Trek, but it stands 
on its own merits as a novel 
worth reading. Saturn's Child's 
storyline is an enjoyable one 
(peppered with some amusing 
Trek references), in spite of some 
characters' silly names. 

—John S. Hall 


Transport to other 
planets. And go face-tr 
face with the unknown 



"When I first read the script, I passed on 
it," Duguay reveals. But at the producers' 
insistence "I looked at it again and saw 
something that interested n 

On a far-off planet, filmmaker Christian 
Duguay breeds a generation of screamers. 

Christian Duguay had directed several TV movies, most notably Million Dollar 
Babies and the low-budget brain-blasting feature films Scanners II: The New 
Order and Scanners III: The Takeover. Then, he was asked by his Scanners 
producers to helm the modestly budgeted, Canadian-made big-screen version of 
Philip K. Dick's short story "Second Variety," which turned into Screamers. 

What made Screamers the right project 
for Duguay to tackle? "It wasn't the right 
project, actually." reveals Duguay, chuckling. 
"When I first read the script [by Dan 
O'Bannon], I passed on it. Then, the produc- 
ers came back and insisted I do it. They 
told me to read between the 
lines, that there 

was work to be done on it, and that I could 
guide it as I saw fit. I thought the premise was 
pretty good and I liked the Philip K. Dick 
story, as well as some of the originality that 
Dan had put into his version of the script. But 
a lot of it didn't work for me. It had been 
written 15 years earlier, so I had to think 
about what I could bring to it that would be 
new and innovative and that would be some- 
thing the audience hadn't seen before. 

"Also, I had been launched, as a director, 
with Scanners II & III. They were interesting 
films and I'm glad that I got to do them, but 
they categorized me as a director of horror and 
science fiction, which were genres I didn't 
necessarily want to be exclusively associated 
with. I like the genre, but I just wanted to show- 
that I could do more than that kind of film." 

So, Duguay indeed passed on the project, 
moving on instead to several telemovies that 
allowed him to display his agility at handling 
projects with a full story' arc, real characters 

mi genuine emotions. Later, the Screamers 
Toducers again knocked on his door. Told 
mat he would be free to imbue the story with 
*hat he saw fit. Duguay signed on. Thus. 
Duguay, with help from co-screenwriter 
Miguel Tejada-Flores and input from the 
film's lead, Peter (RoboCop) Weller, sought 
to transform Screamers into an SF film with 
a heart and soul. 

Screamers evolved into the story of 
Colonel Joseph Hendricksson (Weller), who, 
in the year 2078 on the Earth mining colony 
Sirius 6B, leads the decimated forces of the 
Alliance. The Alliance has been at war with 
the New Economic Bloc for more than a 
decade, and it's all getting a bit futile. When 
an enemy soldier dies attempting to reach the 
Alliance commander with a gesture of peace. 
Hendricksson realizes the war has become 
more futile than he had ever imagined: Every- 

"- — «fl 

vsya ri^ji 

~* m ^ 

"Even though we had very little 
money, 1 think we were able to do a 

great deal with the special FX," 

Duguay says. This ship was entirely 


one on Sirius 6B has been abandoned by the 
government on Earth and left to fight amongst 
themselves until no one was left to fight. Soon 
enough. Hendricksson leaves on a quest to 
make peace once and for all with the enemy, 
taking with him a young, green Alliance sol- 
dier named Ace (Andy Lauer). 

As the two travel, they must avoid the 
deadly Screamers, slashing metal creatures 
designed by the Alliance to detect life signs 
and then destroy the bearer of those very life 
signs. Eventually, Hendricksson and Ace 
reach the home base of the New Economic 
Bloc, where they encounter a pair of NEB 
soldiers, Ross (Charles Powell) and Becker 

With his eye on producing direct-to- 
theater fare rather than direct-to-video 
crap, director Christian Duguay gave 
Peter Weller something to chew on 
in Screamers. 

(Roy Dupuis), as well as Jessica (Jennifer 
Rubin), a black marketeer. From there, the 
group must overcome their fears and 
doubts — about their bleak situation, the fore- 
boding surroundings, the constant threat of 
the Screamers and their concerns about each 
other — and seek a way home. 





"I looked at it again and saw something 
that interested me. Without getting too 
pompous or overly intellectual about it, the 
story reminded me of Death and the Soul by 
Jean-Paul Sartre. The concept was the old 
approach toward death; how do you react to 
life once you've lost everything and you have 
nothing to lose? Hendricksson and his group 
have been betrayed by their people on Earth. 
On Sirius 6B. they're facing their own des- 
tiny, making peace with the enemy. But. the 
most important thing to me was that while 
most of the people have lost hope. Hen- 
dricksson hasn't," explains the director, in his 
heavy French-Canadian accent. "Hendricks- 
son still has some hope. My challenge was to 
get those elements in there, but also to enter- 
tain the audience. I didn't want Screamers to 
be too heavy, because it still had to deliver 
everything that one expects of a science- 
fiction film." 


The director notes that much of the Dick 
story remains in Screamers, and that the short 
story was used as a resource, a guideline 
around which the script was built. "There are 
some very interesting concepts in the story 
and we were greatly influenced by it. Dick's 
main premise, that what you create will 
evolve and at some point come against you. 
is definitely in the film. We did change 
things." he continues. "I felt some things 
had to be changed. Originally, the story 
took place on Earth. I thought that wasn't 
as interesting as having the action take 
place on another planet, and much deep- 
er into the future." 

Dick's work and Duguay's Scream- 
ers, like so much SF, delves into the 
futility of war. Countless SF projects 
have been set in a post-apocalyptic 
setting where war gone amok has led 
to a barren world populated by dam- 
aged people simply trying to make it 
to the next day. Duguay believes 
that's because a bleak future is both 
a powerful image for a writer or a 
filmmaker to depict and because war. 
fighting amongst ourselves, is a basic 
part of what mankind is all about. "As 
a people, we tend to fight, shake hands 
and make peace, then stab someone in 
the back as they walk away. I think that 
kind of behavior is in our aenes. It's 

Duguay captured some breathtaking images for Screamers. "The visuals were guided 
by the dramatic line of the film." 

part of our evolution." he argues. "That's 
explored in the film. Another thing about war 
being so common in SF is that it lets you com- 
ment on what's going on in the real world at 
the moment. In Screamers, for example. I 
think there are many references to contempo- 
rary conflicts, like the one in Bosnia." 

Creating a sufficiently ravaged look for 
his film was vital to Duguay putting across 
his morality play in a fashion that would be 
convincing to moviegoers accustomed to the 
post-apocalyptic landscapes achieved in such 
films as The Road Warrior. Thus, the director 
relied on a variety of Canadian locations — a 
cement quarry. Olympic Stadium, a city in 

Quebec, and a plateau which could be filmed 
first as sand-swept, and then, just days later, 
as snow-covered — to lend his project the 
proper air of futuristic scope, desperation and 
destruction. "The visuals were guided by the 
dramatic line of the film. When I came to the 
project, I was given suggestions by the pro- 
ducers and the location managers. We had a 
very restrictive budget, so we had to be cre- 
ative," he states. "I started to look around 
Montreal at structures that could be used to 
represent Sirius 6B. We found a cement 
plant, which became the NEB bunkers. To 
create the effect of the destroyed city, we just 
shot tight on the base and matted around it." 
To capture the shots of the Screamers in 
action, Duguay headed to a sandy Canadian 
plateau. There, his prayers to the location 
gods were answered with five cold but crys- 
tal-clear days, followed by several days of 
snow. "The very first scene of the film [in 
which the New Economic Bloc messenger of 
peace is torn to pieces by several Screamers] 
had to put you on edge. It had to be very vio- 
lent, but somehow understated. I came up 
with the idea of the furrows in the 
sand, because less is better. The less 
you see of them, the more frighten- 
ing they are." reasons Duguay. "I 
imagined the Screamers as pira- 
nhas that just went wild any time 
they saw a vital sign. 

"It was a whole process, figur- 
ing out how to make them work. 
Did we want automated machines 
or did we want to create tracks 
where we pull something along? 
What happened was we went 
with the tracks in a latex tube 
where we had little balls that we 
pulled. That created the furrow- 
effect that displaced the sand. I 
shot it all with a remote camera 
that allowed us to sweep behind 
the furrows as they were made. 

With Screamers, Duguay 
tried to pose an eternal 
question: "How do you react 
to life once you've lost 
everything and you have 
nothing to lose?" 

;M KIRi^MONl^ 

Peter Weller doesn't exactly love the current ending of 
Screamers. Neither do a lot of genre fans, especially 
those who've seen Species. In fact, even Screamers 
director Christian Duguay is less than enamored of 
the film's denouement. As it stands now — and read 
no further if you haven't already seen the movie — Hen- 
dricksson (Weller) manages to escape Sirius 6B with the 
help of Jessica (Jennifer Rubin), who turns out to be a 
rather evolved Screamer, one so evolved she has devel- 
oped feelings of love and remorse. Hendricksson finally 
lifts off in a single-person spacecraft and. just before the 
credits roll, a little teddy bear, the kind carried about by 
the little boy Screamer Hendricksson had encountered 
earlier in the movie, turns its head toward the camera. 
Kicker ending; credits roll. 

"The original ending was that Hendricksson goes 
back to Earth and he makes a whole speech about how 
corrupted the government is." reveals Duguay. "While 
he's talking, he looks in the audience and sees one Jes- 
sica, two Jessicas, 20 Jessicas. That made no sense to 
me. How did she get there? She was a direct result of 
the Screamers on Sirius 6B and none of them were on 
Earth. So. for me, that made no sense and we never shot 
that version. 

"Finally, we shot an ending where he leaves in the ship and 
calls to Earth and there's a female voice that responds to him. 
And we see that it's Jessica on Earth. That had good punch, but 
for me it was a stupid punch because it had no reason or logic. 
The teddy bear ending was something I came up with at the very 
end of the process. The concept that was most in demand by 
producers and test audiences was a surprise ending that let you 
know the Screamers are still there. Throughout the film, we had 
created a certain emotional attachment with Hendricksson and 
this teddy bear. Metaphorically, it carried a lot of weight to have 

it come back at the end. Having it move just a bit was chilling 
and plausible enough. 

"The other ending, which we shot and which I would have 
preferred to have used, had the ship leave. You don't see inside 
it and then we crane down to the planet, where we reveal that 

Arguably, the most important parts of any film are the 
beginning and the end. Wrapping Screamers up took some 
thought. Keep your eye on the teddy bear... 

Hendricksson stayed on the planet. He realized there was noth- 
ing to go back to at home. So, it was the reluctant hero who 
walks alone toward his own destiny. I like that ending, Peter did 
too. and I think many people would have liked it. Unfortunately, 
it wouldn't have been liked, probably, by the majority. So, we 
went with what we thought would work best for the most 
people. Sometimes that's what you have to do." 

— Ian Spelling 

On the whole, even though we had very little 
money, I think we were able to do a great deal 
with the special FX. Our FX teams really 
understood what I was trying to accomplish 
and they helped me realize it. The FX — the 
destroyed city, the opening sequence and the 
ship flying at the end — were really there to 
complement the film's dramatic thrust. When 
Hendricksson talks about the war and how 
radioactive matter was used to kill, the result 
of it is there to be seen in the background. 
That's how I viewed the FX." 

In casting Weller as his lead. Duguay was 
working with an intense actor who eats, 
sleeps and breathes film and film history. 
Weller had strong feelings about Screamers 
and, in particular. Colonel Hendricksson. 
Fortunately, Duguay welcomed the actor's 
input. "Peter brought a lot to the table. I had 
heard all sorts of things about him before 
we did the film. I heard he wanted to take 
over many of the movies he had worked on. 
I've worked with a lot of different actors, 
and I have no problem working with guys 
who are interested in the story, in their 
character, in the whole process, who 
challenge you to tell the story as best you 
can. Peter was another eye for me," he 

asserts. "I was willing to reshape things 
when he came in with 
good ideas. It got extreme- 
ly exciting between the 
two of us because we chal- 
lenged each other so much. 
"Peter and I would lock 
ourselves in hotel rooms 
and say, 'OK, what about 
this? Do we prefer that? 
Where's the character going 
here?" He challenged me and 
I challenged him. and we 
tremendously enjoyed each 
other's company all the way 
through the film. Peter was 
wholly open to my direction 
and I was open to hearing his 
ideas. We had our differences, of 
course, in trying to make it better 
and more exciting, but we were 
really in sync." 

Duguay also offers words of 
praise for the rest of his cast. "Roy 

Duguay's work as the director of 
both Scanners II and /// prepared 
him for some of the more horrific 
elements in Screamers, like this 
'hungry" little boy... 

STARLOG/March 1996 17 

"Peter brought a lot to the table," Duguay 
offers of his star. "He challenged me and I 
challenged him, and we tremendously 
enjoyed each other's company." 

Dupuis is not only one of Canada's best 
actors, he's a great, great friend of mine. He 
has done several things with me. I knew he 
could bring Becker to that next level. Andy 
Lauer was our comic relief. He represented 
what the American Army is all about. He's 
like a G.I. who comes in but does not really 
understand what he's fighting for. Actually, 
it's like that in the Canadian Army as well," 
adds the director. 'Andy was really good at 
playing the character's irony. I also liked 
Andy's scenes with Peter. They had a good 
connection as actors. Jennifer Rubin had to 
play the film's most ambiguous character 
and. of course, the only female. 





"Jennifer had a tough job playing Jessica. 
She doesn't come into the film until about the 
halfway point, and she's there to be both the 
love interest and a source of female sexuality. 
I know I'm going to get a lot of 
flak for her near-nude scene, but I 
don't think it was gratuitous. Why 
Jessica would do that is pretty 
well explained in the film. Jen- 
nifer had to play all of that, the 
mystery of the character, and she 
had to make us believe Jessica had 
been jolted by all of the things that 
had happened to her, before the 
events of the film. She was very 
good and she made all of it work." 

Screamers is a most logical 
step for Duguay. It's his biggest 
project to date, and one that sets 
the stage for him to move onto 
even bigger projects should it 
catch on critically and/or finan- 
cially. The director began his 
career as a news cameraman, 
which allowed him to travel the 
world, and he later graduated to 

reporter, one who shot and edited his own 
stories. Deciding such employment was a tad 
too draining, he tried his hand at working as 
a camera operator and later as a director of 
photography for Canadian TV. film and com- 
mercial ventures. 

fiinail scans 

Fifteen years of such work made Duguay 
a pro at his craft. "I kept getting hired in 
Canada and the US, and some producers 
began to take notice of my work. I got hired 
as second-unit director on a series called 
William Tell, and later they asked me to 
direct a show. Then," he recalls, "I became 
their in-house director for three years. Then. 
I started to do films. 

"Scanners II and /// are perfect examples 
of a young director launched into motion pic- 
tures. I was trying to please the films' target 

"The focus of 
I Screamers was 
1 really clean and 
S clear from the 
[ outset," Duguay 
f states. "The 
> only changes 
[ that we made 
while we shot it 
were designed 
to improve it." 

"The most important thing to me 
was that most of the people have 
lost hope, Hendricksson hasn't," 
explains Duguay. 

audiences and wasn't focused on 
story and character. Scanners II 
took the obvious way to go with a 
first sequel and Scanners III tried to 
go in a new direction, but it fell 
between styles. I tried to get into 
character with Scanners III. but it 
got pulled back into a strict genre 
film as I was making it. That com- 
bination didn't work. Scanners III, 
especially, taught me lessons I kept 
in mind while making Screamers. 
The focus of Screamers was really 
clean and clear from the outset, and 
the only changes that were made 
while we shot it were designed to 
improve it. not to change it dramat- 

Currently. Duguay is in pre-pro- 
duction on his next film. Jackals, a 
serious thriller with its toes in both 
reality and fiction. The story con- 
cerns Carlos, an infamous real-life 
terrorist now in a Paris prison. 
What's fictionalized is the notion 
that a U.S. Marine who happens to be a dead- 
ringer for Carlos is recruited by the CIA. 
"The strategy behind that is that the CIA 
hopes to make the KGB — which has been 
protecting Carlos — think Carlos is working 
with the CIA." reveals the director. "We're 
offering the role to Daniel Day-Lewis. The 
script is really strong, and I think it will all 
come together soon." 

As the conversation comes to a close, 
Duguay notes that even if Screamers were to 
prove a huge hit. a sequel is not in his future. 
"Screamers IP. That's not for me," he says. 
"But Peter may want to do it now that he's 
directing [the thriller Incognito]." Still, that 
doesn't at all mean Duguay isn't pleased with 
what he has achieved with Screamers. "I like 
the film a lot. Some scenes run too long and 
others, like the Hendricksson-Jessica ro- 
mance, aren't developed enough. I love the 
walk-and-talk stuff with Hen- 
dricksson, but that runs a little 
long. too. Otherwise, it's a 
film that should make you 
reflect on what would happen 
if you were facing death, if 
death were your next-door 
neighbor. Some people will 
fight to keep going and others 
will just give up. having 
\ become victims of their own 
fear. We have characters in 
Screamers who effectively 
' represent those extremes," 
concludes Christian Duguay. 
"I also just hope, on the sim- 
plest level, that people have a 
good time, that I've kept them 
ig entertained and surprised all 
the way through it. I would 
like to think we accomplished 
all of that." & 

18 STARLOG/Ma/r/i 1996 


Personal replies are unlikely. Mail can not be 
forwarded. Other fans and advertisers some- 
times contact readers whose letters are printed 
here. To avoid this, mark your letter "Please 
Withhold My Address." Otherwise, we retain 
the option to print it. 

475 Park Avenue South, 8th Floor. 

New York, NY 10016 
or e-mail STARLOG via the Internet: 


...I would like to respond to the letter from R.W. 
Hobbs Jr. (STARLOG #218)— a teenager who 
needs to grow up and quit making blanket assump- 
tions about all "true Trekkers." 

As a classic Trek-only Trekker, I would like to 
make one thing clear right now: Being a genuine 
Trek fan does not require you to watch and like 
anything that comes along with the name Star Trek 
slapped onto it. I believe that true Trekkers are dis- 
criminating enough to know the difference 
between real Star Trek — something true to the feel. 
the spirit and the character harmony of classic 
Trek — and a glitzy, overhyped imitation. 

For the record. I have watched all four TV ver- 
sions of Star Trek, plus all seven movies, and the 
latter three series (of which I am still watching 
only Voyager) simply are nowhere close in overall 
story and character quality to the original: they are 
mostly special FX and technobabble. For me. no 
other Trek characters can compare to the depth and 
realism of the major ones of classic Trek. No char- 
acter relationships are as magical as those between 
Kirk. Spock and McCoy, and no stories are more 
riveting than those in the best of classic Trek. Rick 
Berman. in his frenzy to create his own vision of 
Star Trek, has ignored one basic rule of life: If it 
works, don't fix it — with the result that changes in 
the Star Trek Universe have been made both arbi- 
trarily and unnecessarily. 

"True Trekkers" know this and are able to 
choose for themselves whether they prefer classic 
Star Trek. The Next Generation. Deep Space Nine 
or Voyager. They don't just blindly accept every- 
thing that purports to be Star Trek. Trying our best 
to follow IDIC philosophy doesn't mean we have 
to be gullible: in fact, those few of us who still are 
classic Trek-only Trekkers are following IDIC. 
We're daring to be different. Maybe instead of 
jumping all over us because we choose not to like 
the same versions of Star Trek that they do. these 
hypersensitive DS9 fans should try following IDIC 

Gamin Davis 
f, 4574 Damato Street 
I San Diego. CA 92124 


s ...I enjoyed most of issue #220. I miss the Audio- 
5 log CD listings that you usually include: it's the 
only way I can keep up with the music that is com- 
ing out. I hope to see it in the next couple of issues. 
In particular. I'm a big fan of Patrick Doyle's 
music and I'm looking for the soundtrack to ,4 Lit- 
tle Princess. Usually, the first place I find informa- 
tion about soundtracks is in your column. 

I disagree with Jean-Marc Lofficier's Booklog 
review of Fortress in the Eye of Time, but since he 
liked the Covenant series (my review of those is 
that they were turgid and boring, though I've 
enjoyed others of Stephen Donaldson's books). I 
have a feeling our reading tastes are completely 
opposite. Thus, the next time he pans a book. I'll 
check it out. I'll probably enjoy it. I don't like all of 

Cherryh's fantasy, but I thought Fortress was 
excellent, and I'm looking forward to the sequel. 

I have just watched Space: Above and Beyond. 
It was pretty good, though I kept remembering 
Return of the Jedi had the same space fight scenes. 
I'll tune in to this one next week, which is more 
than I can say for the majority of the new season. 
It's difficult to assess a show from the pilot, but the 
writing has given the pretty-faced actors more sub- 
stance than most shows. 

I will see Strange Days on the basis of your 
article. It has intrigued me more than any of the 
advertising I've seen. I hope it lives up to the space 
you've given it in the magazine. I have to agree 
with some of Duncan Shea's letter: often a great 
deal of space is devoted to a stupid movie. I can 
remember one years ago. called (if I recall correct- 
ly) Meteor, which was given lots of space but was 
a really bad flick. I do like Ralph Fiennes. though, 
so I'll check out Strange Days... probably at a half- 
price show. 

L.C. Wells 

via the Internet 

David Hirsch's Audiolog column only appears in 
odd-numbered issues of STARLOG. As for Meteor. 
that was 17 years ago. Lacking a working crystal 
ball or a real time machine, it is simply impossible 
for editors to know prior to its release that a movie 
is "stupid" (though sometimes we have a clue). 
Strange Days — to which we have devoted eight 
pages — seemed promising, but what the final fan 
consensus on it will be isn't clear yet. 


...If Glen Morgan and James Wong, creators of 
Space: Above and Beyond (STARLOG #220). real- 
ly wanted to make a World War II series, what 
stopped them? What do spaceships and rayguns 
provide that fighter planes and machine guns do 
not? Perhaps if they had read Robert A. Heinlein's 
Starship Troopers or Larry Niven and Jerry Pour- 
nelle's The Mote in God's Eye — both reactionary, 
pro-military SF novels — beforehand, their pro- 
gram would be more imaginative and com- 
pelling — and less derivative. 

James Swallow's X-Files update/Chris Carter 
profile in STARLOG #221 ("X-aminations") 
makes the obligatory stab at categorizing the 
creepy TV show, only to arrive at the conclusion, 
as others have before, that it's really in a category 
unto itself. You can say that Star Trek is a space 
opera. The Outer Limits a monster-of-the-week 
with a touch of the Gothic and The Twilight Zone 
an anthology of morality plays in fantasy garb with 

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twist endings, and the general descriptions can be 
readily grasped. 

It takes more than a sound bite to adequately 
convey the shadowy nature of The X-Files. The 
taxonomic difficulty lies in the series' occupation 
of the gap between the SF genre and the main- 
stream. The overlapping influences don't allow for 
pat labels. Science fiction signatures are certainly 
present in the show (notably one episode with a 
striking resemblance to The Thing and the story on 
which it's based. John W. Campbell's "Who Goes 
There?"), but no one who is knowledgeable insists 
it is intrinsically science fiction. It. too. devotes 
time to more domestic pursuits, albeit dark ones, 
such as government conspiracies, mystifying 

Zf&Obl fiNP T+1E. fiRSOtvflUTS. 

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STARLOG/ March 1996 19 

least! The space planes called Hammerheads look 
cool: where's the model kit? The special FX are 
some of the best on TV. The space fighting is fast 
and furious! The alien ships and big cruisers, like 
the Saratoga, look great too. 

Have I praised it enough? If you haven't seen 
it. check it out. If you don't like it. check your 

Rodney Woolard 

P.O. Box 1277 

Bridgeton. NC28519 


...As a die-hard Lost in Space fan, I really did 
appreciate your remembering this series for its 
30th anniversary, but I have some comments. I 
have heard that CBS executives did laugh at the 
original pilot of Lost in Space, but after all. these 
were the same kind of executives who rejected Star 
Trek as well. Can you imagine what their reaction 
would have been seeing the original, badly-made, 
low-budget Star Trek pilot with grown men run- 
ning around in their pajamas? And as far as writer 
Jack Turley is concerned, he did write one of the 
best episodes of the third season that focused on 
Professor John Robinson, even though it was a 

"real-life" experiences and serial killers (there also 
is plenty of forensics in The X-Files, yet this hard- 
ly qualifies it as a detective show). 

Author Bruce Sterling has coined a term for 
creative works containing elements of science fic- 
tion but whose essence, in toto. precludes them 
from the genre proper. His word: slipstream. 
Under this heading, postmodern, magical-realist 
and other closely related forms of fantasy become 
as one. The Simpsons. Twin Peaks and The Adven- 
tures of Brisco County. Jr. can be placed side be- 
side under one roof. Conceivably, slipstream could 
be stretched to accommodate films like Heavenly 
Creatures. Little Buddha and The Last Temptation 
of Christ. At the moment, the classification solu- 
tion isn't perfect. To define The X-Files as a scary 
slipstream show would be meaningless to the aver- -fj 
age Joe. As more and more productions compro- g 
mise between science fiction and the mainstream. ^ 
however, some sort of handy nickname will bei 
necessary to describe such ventures, if only for § 
critics and entertainment journalists. 

Al Christensen 

Tacoma. WA 

...Simply put. Space: Above and Beyond totally 
rocks! I've been hooked since I saw the two-hour 

So far. each episode has told something new 
about one of the characters. By the way. all of the 
characters are perfectly different from one another. 
Where West seems noble and sure. Hawkes is 
unsure and reckless. Vansen is great in the military 
and she looks good too. but she's in the wrong line 
of work if she wants to put the deaths of her par- 
ents behind her. Maybe Vansen is afraid she'll get 
too far away from it. So this is her way of dealing 
with losing them. 

The older and wiser commanding officer fits 
nicely among the five young soldiers. I also have to 
say that Lt. Damphousse seems very likable. Her 
background should be explored in a future episode 
and Lt. Wang brings some good comic relief, with 
his love for football and Shakespeare. 

So who are they going to kill off first? Whoev- 
er it is. I'm not going to like it. but it's war. so I'll 
have to live with it! 

Where is Lt. Michelle Low?? I read her name 
on the side of a plane in the premiere and I haven't 
seen her since. She looked great, so bring her back 
for an episode and kill her off. then the six cast 
members can be safe for the rest of this season, at 

IM THE LrlBoRftToRY <=>? THE 

map poPifiTRi^T. 

replay of The Most Dangerous Game, but what of 
Star Trek's "Arena" episode? That was hardly orig- 
inal. Trek itself was hardly original either, and 
espoused very little as far as "true" science fiction 
concepts. Like Thomas Paine 's Common Sense. 
Star Trek said nothing new. just gathered the liber- 
al opinions of few ultra-left wing radicals "who 
refuse to eat meat and want to give America back 
to the Indians." I love that quote, but it is so accu- 
rate of Gene Roddenberry. the liberal's liberal. 

Lost in Space started out as a serious, straight- 
forward SF series that came out of the real-life 
spaceflight missions of the 1960s. There was noth- 
ing childish about this series when it first started. It 
took a qualified, space-faring family and made 
them pioneers in space exploration. Who cares if it 
didn't have a. science advisor like Star Trek? Star 
Trek had so much pseudo-scientific double-talk 
that you would have to be a complete idiot to swal- 
low the garbage that spews forth into the minds of 
its audience. They all believe that transporters and 
warp field coils will be true someday, like a Jules 
Verne prediction. 

I've said this before and I'll say it again. I like 
and prefer Lost in Space over Star Trek any day of 
the week. I don't believe that Lost in Space is in 
any way. shape or form inferior to any other sci- 
ence fiction series. I prefer Lost in Space because it 
doesn't put me to sleep like Star Trek. It is able to 
keep me entertained for an hour or so. but I do not 

make it the focus of my life. I have a life. Lost in 
Space is just a part of it. 

Christopher Krieg 

430 Westgate Road 

Baltimore. MD 21229 


...They spent SI 75-220 million on Waterworld to 
make a good-looking but shallow rip-off of The 
Road Warrior, which was made for S6-10 million, 
and was a box-office hit. furthering Mel Gibson's 
career. Science fiction/fantasy films have seldom. 
if ever, received any respect in Hollywood, the 
majority of them always seem to consist of cyborgs 
exterminating 500 people in five minutes: time- 
travel yarns seldom worth the time: big. bloated 
yarns with spectacular special FX but very poor 
characterization: shoe-string-budgeted vehicles 
based upon SF classics that turn out to be less than 
stellar: obnoxious adventures based upon gross- 
out special FX. graphic violence, filthy language, 
and degrading lust- (never real love) filled sex. Stu- 
dios rush them out to a theater near you or your 
local video store for that first buck, but then again 
isn't that what it's all about? 

Perhaps it's best that the real SF/fantasy litera- 
ture has always remained just that — literature, not 
motion pictures. Could you imagine what these 
men and women in Hollywood would do to such 
classics as Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. Carl 
Sagan's Contact or the collective works of Harlan 
Ellison for entertainment's sake, or just to experi- 
ment on what sells and what doesn't. SF/fantasy 
literature spans back to the 1900s. when hundreds 
of stories, novels, books, even series to choose 
from. Many get recognized by Hollywood but few. 
if any. see life on the silver screen. After watching 
Waterworld. I guess we can take some comfort in 

T. Pern man 

Address Withheld 

We'll see just what they do to Contact /'/; the com- 
ing years. 


...Perhaps I should stop this Earth 2 debate, but I 
just can't. Also, maybe calling DS9 garbage was a 
bit strong, but to me. it is garbage. To other people 
it is very good. One man's garbage is another 
man's meat — or something like that. I am happy 
for the people who like DS9 and Voyager, that they 
will live on because they bear the name Star Trek 
in front of them. 

In issue #219. a reader wrote how Earth 2 can 
have all the science fiction taken out of it and still 
be left as a story — well, this is true at first glance 
only. The reader also said, "the production doesn't 
rely on scientific extrapolation of the future to tell 
its tale of hardship and triumph..." Nothing could 

foe more wrong. In Earth 2. the future has become 
■livable due to its own people. The population 
has to live in space stations: the governments put 
chips in people's heads. All of this is the reason 
the travels take place. 

Let's see if we can Western-ize other Earth 2 
pkxs: in "Flower Child." an alien form of transfer- 
ence mating takes over Bess after entering her 
i -. — she has to travel a great distance to get to 
jhe mating place — and husband Morgan, proving 
.-.:- absolute love for her once and for all. treks 
after her for the entire night and the next day on . 
foot. We don't find this out until the end of the ; 
episode, but the mating process, which requires 
the substance to expel out of the host into the pit. 
brings spring. Good science? I don't know. Enjoy- 
able? Yes. And it was a story that told us about 
love and the relationship of these characters. 

And oh. yes. could "shamanistic Indians." 
which the reader claims can be put in the place of 
the Terrians. really heal Uly? These people have 
never been on an Earth-type planet. Could Earth 
2 be put into the Old West and still be told? No. 
That is like saying Star Trek can be put on a sub- 
marine and still be told with the same effect (well, 
come to think of it. the original Star Trek could 
be — does anyone remember the battle in space- 
sub episode "Balance of Terror"?) 

The reader also tells us he didn't view every' 
E2 episode — until he does, he hasn't seen every 
reason his viewpoint is wrong. The ratings, which 
rely on a faulty system of measuring viewer 
response, are not to be taken seriously by science 
fiction fans. Additionally, even if no other person 
liked E2. it still had merit. Truthfully, any good 
story can be told in other ways: look at Peter Pan. 
Romeo and Juliet and others which have been 
updated. Personally. I prefer the real, untouched 
thing. 1 also like a series where a group of travel- 
ers are on a journey of some kind with only them- 
selves to rely on. On Star Trek — all the Trek series 
sans Voyager — there is the feeling that they can 
come and go to and from Earth at any whim, mak- 
ing the "mission" less of an odyssey. They always 
find known people and Federation colonists 
already on the places they go to. For this. I even 
prefer Space: 1999. Fantastic Journey. Galaxy 
Express. Land of the Giants. The Time Tunnel and 
yes, as pure fantasy entertainment. Lost in Space. 
with their wandering hero motifs. 

Shows like Trek and X-Files are revered due 
to their use of science. Bah! The X-Files are not 
all based on real-life experiences. Trek, as well as 
all the other series, uses extrapolated science 
knowledge to give authority and credibility while 
mixing these notions with pure human imagina- 
tion — teleporters. transporters, telepathy and 
sound in space. Earth 2. by comparison, has 
devices which could conceivably work. Terran 
"science." on the other hand, seems quite like fan- 
tasy — healing, traveling through the Earth, based 
on their alien physiology. OK. so the bottom line 
is we watch due to the FX. the strength of the 
story and the likable, believable characters and 
even the premise. For me. Earth 2 cut it. 

Charles Memo 

282 West 8th Street 

Deer Park. NY 11729 


...I am one Voyager fan who is very pleased with 
the show. Over the past months, several of your 
readers have criticized the show, mostly because 
of the Janeway character. Grow up. people! Cap- 
tain Janeway is an admirable character. She is a 
person who is self-actualizing, and who is capa- 
ble of experiencing and showing a full range of 
emotion. She makes Captain Picard (with his 
somewhat flat affect and limited range of emo- 
tions) seem like a cardboard character. Captain 

LATfB. GVL fiMVWHtim 1 
A PlSCOVERti . . . 

sfh 10m /" - 

p CArlP WA5 

«s3s Fom 

{ LIGHTS' i:- 
> IS m -ACS. 

Janeway is a psychologically well-balanced char- 
acter who has nothing to prove to the world (as 
did Riker and Kirk, who seemed to have a need to 
bed every female in sight in order to reaffirm their 
masculinity!), and has no hidden agenda. She is 
morally and ethically well-founded, and is a per- 
son of high principles (something we see less and 
less of in today's world). 

One of your readers (issue #221) seems to 
blame Janeway for getting lost in the Delta Quad- 
rant, and "allow ing" most of her key personnel to 
get killed and some of the crew kidnapped. I has- 
ten to point out that Chakotay also got lost and 
had some of his crew kidnapped. Again, grow up. 
people! It's just a premise for a story! 

1 think that the emotional and psychological 
development of the Voyager characters is infinite- 
ly better than that for ST.TNG and DS9. It 
reminds me of the lovely interactions that we 
used to see between Kirk. Spock and McCoy. The 
Voyager characters are more human, more real 
than any of TNG's empty, hollow characters. 

I also like the fact that the Voyager crew goes 
down onto various planets, snooping around. I 
would do that if I were in the Delta Quadrant! 
Why waste opportunities to see new worlds!?! 

I say "Bravo" to Voyager 1 . 1 hope that it is pro- 
duced for many more years to come, and that the 
writers continue the wonderful character develop- 
ment that we are already seeing. 

As for the people out there who can't accept a 
woman in a leadership role — I suggest that you 
grow up! Your immaturity is showing, and it's 
rather pathetic. 

Felicity Harrison 

Address Withheld 


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from Random House Value Publishing, Inc. 

The One Called Spock 

Now I understand why Leonard Nimoy invited me to have breakfast at his home. In 
Hollywood, every action has a purpose, although that purpose might not be appar- 
ent right away. When Nimoy said. "We should get to know each other." I was 
both flattered and puzzled, but I accepted immediately. 

It was the late '70s — just a few years after Norm Jacobs and I had launched STAR- 
LOG, just a few years after Nimoy wrote a book that he mistakenly titled I Am Not 
Spock. Having struggled in print to separate himself, the actor, from Spock. the charac- 
ter. Nimoy was suffering the "'slings and arrows of outrageous" fandom. 

The millions of Star Trek fans, who had proved their almighty power by saving the 
TV series from cancellation after its second year on NBC, were now threatening to can- 
cel Nimoy, just as rumblings of the first Star Trek movie were being felt around the Para- 
mount lot. Some fans had turned hateful toward him because they thought he had turned 
hateful toward the Vulcan, the show and the fans who had, as many angrily growled. 
made him. 

And there I was— co-publisher of STARLOG. the most powerful voice in fandom. 
That's why Leonard asked me to breakfast. 

"Someday." he told me that morning. "I may have to write another book titled. I AM 
Spock After All." 

More than 15 years later, the book is out, but the title is I Am Spock (Hyperion). In 
Chapter One, Nimoy laments the earlier volume. "My... choice of title couldn't have 
been worse. What came back was a deep, sad moan of public frustration followed by 
outbursts of anger, even hatred. For some years afterwards, the public assumption was 
that more Star Trek was not forthcoming because I had vowed never to play the Vulcan 
again because I hated Spock." 

Fan resentment (mixed with adoration) continued through production of Star Trek IT. 
The Wrath of Khan, in which it was rumored that Spock would die. supposedly because 
Nimoy had agreed to appear on the condition that this be the last of the ears. 

In his latest book. Nimoy tells of his 30-year involvement with Star Trek, explaining 
his side of the stories, expressing deep affection for the fans and for Spock. The opening 
page is a letter from Spock. politely declining Nimoy's request that he write the fore- 
word. The delightful dialogue between Spock and Nimoy that began in I Am Not Spock 
continues here with mind-twists that probe the actor's subconscious: 

"NIMOY: Spock. I hope you realize that I don't harbor any feelings of jealousy or 
competition toward you. After all. I am you. And you're me. 
SPOCK: / beg your pardon?" 

Without ever swamping his writing with too many details. Nimoy (aided by Trek nov- 
elist J.M. Dillard) takes us on an entertaining voyage through three years of the original 
five-year mission, bluntly discussing his sometimes rocky relationship with Gene Rod- 
denberry ("we didn't hit it off as friends") and William Shatner ("a pair of very competi- 
tive brothers"). He tells of the development of Spock's distinctive look and manner, 
origins of the Vulcan mind meld, neck pinch and salute. We hear of backstage pranks, 
some more annoying than funny, and creative battles ("I felt I was responsible to protect 
Spock from disintegration"). He takes us through each of the six features with off-cam- 
era information and insights that are, well, fascinating. 

Along the way. we learn of Nimoy's life before Star Trek and the challenging projects 
in between his starship voyages — such as directing Tom Selleck. Ted Danson and Steve 
Guttenberg in Three Men and A Baby, a mega-hit comedy, and Diane Keaton in The 
Good Mother, a dramatic box-office bomb. 

Nimoy offers his own analysis of why Star Trek, in the 1970s, began capturing souls: 
"This was the era of Vietnam and Watergate, of drug abuse and sexual revolution. . .great 
cultural upheaval. . .Americans were learning to mistrust their political leaders. And in 
the midst of those undependable times, there were the Star Trek crew: utterly trustwor- 
thy, predictable, incorruptible — people who could be counted on to tell the truth and 
behave ethically, with dignity and compassion and intelligence." 

One of the book's most touching moments (and there are many) follows the filming 
of Spock's death in Trek II. As he left the set. Nimoy assumed that this difficult scene 
had been the Vulcan's final exit: "I stripped off the ears, the makeup, the uniform, until 
Spock gradually disappeared, leaving behind only Leonard Nimoy. 

"In some ways, it was just another day's work on a Hollywood soundstage. just 
another one of thousands of death scenes recorded on film. But never before had any 
character I'd played had such a profound impact on my psyche, my career, my life... and 
I had just conspired to bring about the end of our long, strange and fascinating relation- 

Fortunately, Nimoy brought Spock back to life, and today, with the approval of mil- 
lions of fans worldwide, the two of them live and prosper as one. 

— Kerry O 'Ouinn 

Explore the History of Science Fiction in 

Order now while issues last! 

Note: All issues include numerous articles & 
interviews. Only a few are listed for each entry. 

=2 Gene Roddenberry. 
Space: 1999 EP 
Guide. Logan's Run. 
War of the Worlds. 

=3 Space: 1999EP 
Guide. Nichelle 
Nichols. George Takei. 
DeForest Kelley. S35. 

=4 3-D SF Movie 
Guide. Richard 
Anderson. Outer Limits 
EP Guide. S50. 

=5 3-D Film history. 
UFO & Space: 1999 
EP Guides. S15. 

#6 Robert Heinlein on 
Destination Moon. 
Animated Star Trek. 

#7 Star V<fars. 
Rocketship X-M. 
Space: 1999 Eagle 
blueprints. Robby. S35. 

#8 Harlan Ellison. Star 
Wars. The Fly. $25. 

#10 George Pal. Ray 
Harryhausen. Isaac 
Asimov. S20. 

=11 CE3K. Prisoner 
EP Guide. Incredible 
Shrinking Man. Rick 
Baker. $20. 

#12 Roddenberry, 
Doug Trumbull & 
Steven Spielberg. 
CE3K. Dick Smith. 

#13 David Prowse. Pal 
on The Time Machine. 
Logan's Run EP 
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#14 Project UFO. Jim 
Danforth. Saturday 
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#15 Twilight Zone EP 
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Richard Donner. This 
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#16 Phil Kaufman. 
Fantastic Voyage. 
Invaders EP Guide. 

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Roddenberry. Joe 
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Richard Hatch. S5. 

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Body Snatchers. CE3K 
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??20 Pam Dawber. Kirk 
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Buck Rogers. S5. 

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=23 David Prowse. 
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ALIEN. $5. 

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Ellison reviews Trek. 


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#35 Billy Dee Williams. 
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=87 Ghostbusters FX. 
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Bruce Willis, Mr. Blockbuster-Action- 
Superstar, takes a well-aimed stab at SF. 

Hudson Photo: Stephen Vaughan Copyright 1991 TriStar Pictures, Inc. 

Bruce Willis has 

made a career out of being the 

right man in the right place at the right 

time, but in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, 

he is thrown out of time — literally. 


Rruce Willis has gone moonlighting, 
been on a disastrous blind date, died 
"S'hard several times, read a bit of pulp 
fiction, served as nobody's fool, saluted the 
last Boy Scout, shot down Hudson's hawk 
and even stayed in four rooms. Yet, the super- 
star had never played with monkeys — until 
now, with Terry Gilliam's SF-thriller 12 
Monkeys. The film, from the acclaimed 
director of Time Bandits, Brazil and The 
Fisher King, also happens to mark Willis' 
first entry into the world of science fiction. 

unless one were to count his memorable 
appearance in the "Shatterday" episode of 
the new Twilight Zone. 

"When I said yes to this film, it wasn't 
necessarily the nature of it being science fic- 
tion that attracted me to it. It was just a really 
well-written story. Those are really rare," 
explains Willis, who counts ALIENS and 
Total Recall among the SF films he has 
enjoyed. "12 Monkeys and one or two other 
films I've done, Pulp Fiction being one of 
them, have been completed scripts. That's an 

exception to the rule, a script that isn't being 
constantly rewritten as you shoot it. It's not 
uncommon to come in and have someone 
say, 'We've completely changed the film's 
ending; It happens all the time. It's a really 
scary thing, because once they start shooting 
the film, you're in the middle of a big forest 
and all you can see are the trees. You don't 
know if you're doing the right thing. This 
script is one of two in the nearly 20 films I've 
done that I read and that night said. 'I have to 
do this film. I want to be involved in this.' 

STARLOG/Marc/i 1996 27 

"The freshest thing about Die Hard 
With a Vengeance was Sam Jackson," 
offers Willis of his co-star, who also 
appeared in Pulp Fiction. 

La Jetee, 12 Monkeys unfolds in 2035. All 
but one percent of mankind has been wiped 
out by a purposefully unleashed plague, and 
all of the survivors live underground. Enter 
Cole (Willis), a prisoner — one who has for 
years experienced strange, apocalyptic 
dreams — who reluctantly agrees to be jetti- 
soned back to the 1 990s in an effort to uncov- 
er who released the deadly virus into the air. 
Arriving first in 1990, Cole winds up in a 
mental institution where he encounters a 
cross-eyed, excitable patient named Jeffrey 

The other, again, was Pulp Fiction. I didn't 
have to help [screenwriters David and Janet 
Peoples] rewrite 12 Monkeys or take it a dif- 
ferent way. It was already there, very well 
thought out and complete. I don't think we 
added scenes to it. and there were no triple 
endings shot so we could try them out on test 
audiences. David and Janet just wrote a real- 
ly good script. 

"I liked the notion that it was just a little 
bit in the future, that it wasn't a billion or 
even 100 years from now. That it's only 30 
years in the future allowed there to be a lot of 
elements that are going on right now to be 
tied into the story. That's a hard thing to do. 
It's much easier to create a new world where 
nothing looks like it does now." 

Monkey Memories 

Inspired, as the Universal Pictures press 
notes phrase it, by a 1962 short subject film. 

Zone Photo: CBS 


12 Monkeys isn't the first time Willis has ventured into science fiction— the new 
Twilight Zone's "Shatterday" takes that honor— and it won't be the last. 

ked the notion that it was just a little 
bit in the future, that it wasn't a billion or 
even 100 years from now," Willis explains 
of his attraction to 12 Monkeys. 

Goines (Brad Pitt), who is the son of a Nobel 
Prize-winning scientist (Christopher Plum- 
mer) and seems dangerously intrigued by 
Cole's warnings of impending death and 
doom, and Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine 
Stowe), a psychiatrist and writer of non-fic- 
tion books concerning prophecy and insanity. 
Realizing he has arrived too early to make 
any impact, the team of eccentric doctors and 

28 ST AKUOGI March 1996 

- . lentists overseeing Cole's mission recall 
him to 2035. A short while later, he's 
whisked back to 1996, where he once again 
encounters Goines and Railly. By this time, 
Goines is the bizarre and unstable leader of 
The Army of the 1 2 Monkeys, a group of rad- 
ical animal rights activists, and Railly is still 
writing and still a bit 
■ystified by Cole's 
inexplicable disappear- 
ance six years earlier. 
Soon enough. Cole 
tracks down Railly and 
convinces her that he's 
not insane and that the 
future is very much at 
stake. Together, the two 
attempt to make a difference. 

"I'm really pleased with the film. I don't 
have a very good prediction rate about how 
my films are perceived or accepted, but I 
think 12 Monkeys is a great film." enthuses 
Willis. "I think it's a really interesting story' 
and I'm very happy about it. It works on a lot 
of levels. It was so well-written that you 
could probably put any three actors in it and 
it would have been good. I was just lucky to 
get the job. I like that it doesn't have a happy 
ending. About 15 years ago. [Hollywood] 
started getting afraid of serious, unhappy or 
tragic endings. If you think about it. all the 
movies I grew up with had unhappy or tragic 
endings. Somewhere along the line, the stu- 
dios got really afraid of doing an ending 
where the kid doesn't get the big hit and win 
the game for his little league team. It's a cred- 
it to Universal that they left our ending 

Of course. 12 Monkeys director Gilliam 
( STARLOG #222) was no stranger to the 

'1 would like to 

30 back to about 

three weeks 

before I did 

Hudson Hawk" 

horrors of trying to release a film with a 
downbeat ending. Does the word Brazil ring 
a bell? Gilliam and Universal, the studio that 
financed Brazil nearly a decade ago and 
caused Gilliam all of his much-chronicled 
misery, came to an agreement before Gilliam 
signed on for 12 Monkeys that it would end as 
it does. Willis respected 
that independent streak 
in Gilliam and enjoyed 
working with him. "He 
stuck to his guns. I had 
met Terry a few times 
prior to talking with 
him about this film," 
recalls the actor, refer- 
ring specifically to The 
Fisher King, for which Willis had been con- 
sidered for the role eventually played by Jeff 
Bridges. "He's an easy director to work with 
because he has completely made the film in 
his head. I've worked with a lot of guys who 
aren't as easy to work with, maybe because 
they're afraid, threatened or don't know what 
they're doing. Terry's just a great storyteller. 
It was really easy and we laughed a lot." 

Likewise, Willis reveals that he had good 
working relationships with both Stowe and 
.Pitt as they shot much of 12 Monkeys on 
location in Philadelphia and Baltimore. He 
even goes so far as to argue that, despite the 
fact that he had to portray a character who 
may or may not be crazy, Stowe and Pitt had 
the greater acting challenges. "Madeleine 
really had the hardest part. She was playing a 
role similar to the one my wife [Demi 
Moore] played in Ghost. She has to be the 
one to say, 'How could this be happening?' 
That's a really hard thing to do as an actor 
and not appear dopey." stresses Willis. "And, 

Over 10 years ago, Willis got his big 
break: playing the wise-cracking private 
investigator David Addison opposite 
Cybill Shepherd on Moonlighting. 

boy, she was so great — so real, and so believ- 
able. For Brad, this is the best thing he has 
ever done, by far. He was just out of his mind. 
I had the easy part. Shooting the film was a 
very similar feeling to how the film itself 
feels: very disjointed, out of time, with you 
never really knowing where you are. So. I 
would just come in and say. 'Where am I 
today? What year is it today?" There was 
never a way to keep track of the character 
like you can in a film that's told in a straight 

"This was a brand new thing for me. It 
was much more of an actor's film than the 
work I usually do. I knew who the character 

STARLOG/Ma;r/; 1996 29 

was and his history, but because of 
what he goes through and because the 
audience is given information that 
makes you think maybe he really is 
crazy, I played the whole thing with a 
question mark in my mind. I've done a 
lot of interesting films and had many 
interesting things to do as an actor. It 
was fun not to have too many rules. 
John McClane [Willis' Die Hard char- 
acter] has a certain amount of rules. 
He can't do this or that, and he has to 
stay within that track. Madeleine's 
character in 72 Monkeys had a lot of 
rules, just by the way it was written, 
which dictated how she had to play the 
part. Cole was just all over the place. I 
enjoy when I'm allowed to set aside 
all of the other things I've done in 
films. In 12 Monkeys, there's nothing 
that resembled anything I've ever 
done before. I like acting. I like the 
process of trying to find something 
new. of trying to say something I 
haven't said before. This really gave 
me a chance to do that, and I'm very 
proud of the work I did in the film." 

Ultimately, explains Willis, that 
sense of disjointedness he has noted 
works for the film, even if it is, as he 
readily acknowledges, a bit confusing 
for the moviegoer. "It's not an easy 
film to watch because you really have 
to pay attention. All the information 
you need is there, so in the last 14 min- 
utes. I was moved. All the little things 
that were shown during the film — the 
guy with the long hair in the shirt, the 
little kid — are all important. All the 
information is there," he repeats. "It's 
not like there's anything missing and 
you say, 'When did that happen?' If you go 
back and see it again, you'll really get it, 
because you'll better see all the clues you 
need to figure out what's really happening. 
Also, it's very difficult to keep the audience 
from figuring out the ending before you get to 
it. I like the fact that in more than two-thirds 
of the movie, we dangle the information 
about whether or not he is really crazy or 
whether or not it all really happened." 

Now that he has traveled through time on 
film, one can't help but wonder when Willis 
himself would visit if he could hurtle through 
time. He responds almost instantly. "I would 
like to go back and see what the scoop was 
with Jesus Christ, to see whether he came 
from a space ship or not," reveals the actor. 
"In my personal life, I would like to go back 
to about three weeks before I decided to do 
Hudson Hawk. Yeah, I knew you would like 
that one. I wouldn't change anything in my 
personal life, really. I would take it all, the 
aood and the bad." 

Die, Monkey, Die 

Just prior to filming 12 Monkeys. Willis 
starred in Die Hard With a Vengeance, the 
third of the Die Hard films that made him an 
international movie star. The film turned out 
to be a huge hit both in America and abroad, 
already earning in excess of $350 million 

worldwide. "When I did the first Die Hard',' 
he remembers, "it was a very, very different 
experience from the one I had shooting Die 
Hard With a Vengeance. Had the first one just 
faded away and not made the hubbub it did, I 
probably wouldn't be sitting here today. I 
would be tending bar somewhere [one of his 
early jobs between acting stints]. By the time 
we got to Die Hard With a Vengeance, it was 
really difficult. It's not like it's a new film. 
Sequels are not new movies. They're another 
chapter in a movie you've already seen. We 
didn't have to explain who John McClane 
was or who most of the other characters were. 

"The hardest part for me was. 'How am I 
going to do this again and not do the same 
thing I did last time?' The film was not about 
breaking any new ground in acting. I don't 
think I did anything new in it. I've played a 
bad hangover scene before. The freshest 
thing about the film was Sam [Pulp Fiction] 
Jackson [as Zeus Carvill. McClane's reluc- 
tant partner in the effort to stop Jeremy Irons 
from leveling New York City]. I was really 
happy to have Sam with us. He's a great 
actor, very funny, and I think he helped that 
film a lot." 

Though the Die Hard films don't exactly 
test the actor in Willis, it's quite likely there 
will be more of them on the horizon, as many 
as the marketplace will permit. And why not? 

One, audiences clearly love them. 
Two. Willis is paid handsomely to 
act in them and. three, the success of 
those films has paved the way for 
him to tackle riskier parts in more 
artistic films — like Nobody's Fool 
and Four Rooms — that can also ben- 
efit exposure-wise and financially 
from his star power. "I'm keeping an 
open mind these days [about more 
Die Hards]. After Die Hard 2, 1 went 
on TV and said, 'I'll never do anoth- 
er Die Hard movie. I just don't think 
they can do it.' And here we are. So, I 
think anything is possible. They're 
already thinking about what we'll do 
for Die Hard IV. Sequels, especially 
Die Hard With a Vengeance, repre- 
sent a lot of money to the studio. 
There are no sure things in Holly- 
wood, but sequels to films that have 
already done well are probably as 
close to a sure thing as there is." 

Since filming 12 Monkeys, Willis 
has busied himself with a trio of pro- 
jects. First, he filmed a supporting 
role in Four Rooms, an anthology 
film about the goings-on at a famous 
Hollywood hotel on New Year's Eve. 
Then there's Last Man Standing, a 
Western remake of Akira Kuro- 
sawa's classic Yojimbo from director 
Walter [48HRS.) Hill, who also co- 
produced the ALIES' trilogy. Finally, 
there is The Fifth Element, the actor's 
second foray into cinematic SF. with 
French director Luc (La Femme Niki- 
ta) Besson calling the shots. "Last 
Man Standing is a real gangster 
movie set in a small town in Texas in 
1931. Last Man Standing was just a 
fun movie to do and to shoot. Walter is a 
great director. He's another great storyteller," 
says Willis. "I can't tell you anything, any- 
thing about The Fifth Element. Luc would 
kill me if I did that. I'm just not allowed to 
talk about it yet. but it's going to be good, 
really good." 

These days, it seems, people are more 
interested in what Willis is up to on screen, 
rather than off it. He's happily married, 
spends quality time with Moore and the cou- 
ple's daughters. Rumer and Scout. Pulp Fic- 
tion earned Willis newfound consideration as 
a thespian. while Nobody's Fool proved Pulp 
was not a fluke. Now, 12 Monkeys has many 
critics calling his performance as Cole his 
best ever, with some reviewers even talking 
Oscar. "12 Monkeys was a great experience, 
the most fun thing I've done in a long time," 
Bruce Willis concludes. "It was a great work- 
out for me as an actor. But I still think my 
best work is ahead of me. I've never said I 
was the consummate actor. I learn a little bit 
every time I go out there. I certainly haven't 
done everything I want to do. I keep trying to 
challenge myself. I might fail. Acting is how 
I express myself creatively. I don't know how 
to paint. I don't know how to write stories. 
But I do know how to tell a story through act- 
ing. So, there is still some interesting stuff 
out there for me." 


30 STARLOG/Mmr/; 1996 

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obin Williams seems to enjoy piling one sur- 
Ji J prise on top of another in terms of his movie 
choices. Dramas, comedies, genre vehicles — all 
get the same perfectionist treatment by this 
master of disguise. Although his manic energy 
always seems to lurk just beneath the surface — and often 
erupts way above it — Williams has chosen to give a low-key 
performance in his latest fantasy adventure, Juma nji. As 
moviegoers know, it's about a magical board game 
which subjects those who play it to a variety of terri- 
ble afflictions— until they finish playing. Williams, 
who is sucked into the game as a kid, returns 26 years 
later to set things straight. 

Aided and abetted by his childhood flame (Bonnie Hunt), who was his 
partner in the original game session, and by two children (Kirsten Dunst and 
Bradley Pierce) who have started participating more recently, he tries to 
cope with what the game has in store: marauding monkeys, huge attack spi- 
ders, a menacing lion, an elephant stampede, a hungry crocodile and a trop- 
ical monsoon. 

Jumanji, directed by Joe Johnston, is a departure for Williams. It's his 
first action film, and the first time he appears with computer-generated 
images as well as electronic creatures. What made the 44-year-old actor opt 
for such an adventure? 

"I liked the script and the idea of working with special FX, because I'm 
fascinated by computer animation," he explains. "And that's the closest I'll 
ever get to doing an action movie. I liked the idea of doing something that's 
an adventure but is still for kids six to 14. Even if it's frightening for small 
kids, it isn't violent. An elephant stepping on a car may be violent, but not as 
brutal as what's out there today. I can't mix blowing someone away and making a 
about it." 

The actor enjoyed making an action movie. "It was fun," he confesses. "It's probably 
going to be my last, too. Why? Because in the end I know what it is; it's an action adven- 
ture; it is a ride, and the object is to give it some heart and soul and to try to not just be con- . 
nective tissue for FX. Is it hard? Yeah, because it's very physical. You have to do a lot of it 
in the water with an alligator attacking, running, getting flushed downstairs by torrential 
waves. I wanted this challenge, just to try something different, to see if I could do an action 
movie and be believable. If a stunt can be done like physical comedy, how can you resist?" 

Wild Things 

There seem to be some inevitable comparisons between Hook and Toys with Juman- 
ji "in terms of a child's awareness of trying to relive an experience and make it right," as 
the actor puts it, and in terms of growing up in a nether land. "Yes," agrees Williams, 
"growing up in a brutal netherworld — and survival, and then coming back and your par- 
ents are gone. Then, by finishing the game, you can go back and connect with them." 

Although he's well aware that he was offered the project "because I track well with 
little kids,''' Williams didn't hesitate to abandon his trademark comic routines for a more 
subdued performance. "It's not as wild, because it's not a character who has a lot of 
choice in terms of behavior," he explains. "When you're away for so long, you almost 
doubt whether you can speak English. Or else you have to spend the rest of the movie 
saying. . ." Williams starts imitating the vocabulary of Jodie Foster in Nell. 

You can't expect this actor to deliver a totally by-the-book performance sans his 
favorite improvisational touches, but here he, in his own words, "had to take it into a 
more physical plateau. And eventually, as my character learns, he can start speaking a lit- 
tle. I would try different things — but he's not hip and aware of anything, because he's out 
of his element." 

Jumanji. based on a children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, is in part a morality tale. 
As the game dictates, you must finish what you start. But will kids pick up on that? 

"They'll pick up on other things." contends the actor. "The scary things are abandon- 
ment and the lack of connection [with parents]. Obviously, critters — especially the spi- 
ders on steroids — and going away to another place are scary things, which is why this 

Williams co-starred 
in the Oscar-winning 
The Fisher King, 
directed by Terry 
Gilliam, for whom 
Williams had 
cameoed in The 
Adventures of 
Baron Munchausen. 

Comic book audiences 
might remember Williams 
from the title role in 
director Robert (The 
Player) Altman's Popeye, 
his first starring vehicle. 

It's the closest I'll ever get to doing an action movie," Williams reveals of Jumanji. 

may be too scary for little kids. My kids are 
12, 6 — my daughter Zelda may be of the bor- 
derline age for this one — and 4." 

Williams says that it's for them that he 
made Jumanji. "And that's also why I made 
Aladdin and Hook. If it's something they can 
go to and have a wonderful time and be 
slightly scared at without being too terrified, 
then I'm interested. Zelda's pretty sophisti- 
cated. The only thing that might scare her is 
when my character gets sucked into the 
game. It's the scariest scene because it's a 
child's image of being taken away some- 
place — abandonment. 

"Kids find the drawings in the book 
frightening because they're in black and 
white, full of shadows and shadings, and 
drawn from an infant's perspective, from the 
floor looking up. For little kids, it's quite 
real. In their reality, there are things that live 
under the bed. It's no joke." 

Still, Williams believes kids should be 
allowed to face their fears. "They 
should know that everything 
isn't wonderful. Fairy tales 
were designed originally to 
tell kids, yes, things can 
eat you." 

In the movie, the father 
tells his son to "be a man," 
to face the school bullies. 
According to Williams, "It 
used to be fathers told kids 
that they could handle any- 
thing. Today, they tell their 
kids that first they have to 
acknowledge the fear, and then 
they can beat it." 

Williams' character in The Fisher King, 
Parry, had his own phobias, and as a kid. 
Williams himself had his own nightmares 
and dreads. The most frightening movies for 
him at the time were mostly in the realm of 
SF. "I remember going to a kids' party and 
seeing a science-fiction picture with an alien 

DAN YAKIR, veteran STARLOG correspon- 
dent, profiled Bruce Greenwood in 

34 STARLOGMtor/? 1996 

spaceship and a submarine and there was a 
one-eyed octopus monster. It was really 
laughable, with gumby arms, but I got so 
scared. I had to leave, and all the other kids 
sneered, 'You wuss!' The robot in The Day 
the Earth Stood Still also frightened me." 

But his more serious, real-life nightmares 
had to do with "abandonment and the con- 
nection with your parents — not knowing 
them. As an only child, I had no siblings to 
react off of. My father was working his ass 
off and my mother was doing other things 
too, so I had a very fertile imaginary world to 
turn to." 

The actor says he was "quite lonely. It 
was just me and the puppet. I was an only 
child who moved around a lot: it was rough. I 
remember being in the sixth grade and feel- 
ing fat and small — and slow and white. I 
was very uncomfortable and feeling really 
awkward: puberty was hitting me. too. . 
And then, somehow. I came 

Working for director Joe {The Rocketeer) 
Johnston gave Williams a chance to build 
his special FX chops 

out of it, because when I got to high school, I 
started to wrestle and get physical, and I ran 
cross-country — I started to empower myself 

Discussing his childhood leads the actor 
to the subject of his parents. "My father's 
dead, so we're not close, but my mother still 
lives right nearby," says the San Francisco 
resident. "The nice thing is that I did get to 

know my father before he died: it was really- 
extraordinary. That's what the movie is 
about, too: making the connection." 

Was his father anything like the father in 
Jumanji! "He was a bit stern. He would never 
force me to do anything, unlike the one in the 
movie. He said, 'If you want to be an actor, 
fine. Just have an alternate profession, like 
welding.' Early on in his life, he had to give 
up a dream, and he didn't want that to happen 
to me. His father had been very wealthy and 
when he died, they lost all that, and he was 
forced to work in a strip mine in Pennsylva- 
nia. When I found something I loved, he saw 
that, and it was great being able to connect on 
that level with him." 

Crazy conversations 

While the movie obviously strikes a very 
personal chord within Williams, it's also one 
that follows his disappointment over losing 
the Riddler role in Batman Forever to Jim 
Carrey (STARLOG #218). "It was sad at the 
time. I was very excited, but then it didn't 
happen. It's a reality that no one is safe 
f rom — even people like Jack Nicholson. 
You're offered a part and you don't move 
quickly enough and you go, 'But I had 'til 
Tuesday!' It's their toy; it's their game and it 
hurts, but then you just accept it." 

Instead, he got to work in Jumanji with 
both electronic creatures and computer-gen- 
erated images. In a climactic scene, Williams 
battles a huge animatronic crocodile without 
the help of a stuntman. He simply craved the 
rush. "It was a bit of spray musk," he jokes. 
"I wanted to say. 'I did that stunt!' 

" 'But it's a fake alligator!' " he himself 

" T know! I know!' " he responds. 
"I banged it on the nose once and the guy 
inside shouted, 'Hey, come on, man!'" 
As for the computer-generat- 
ed images, it was an experience 
Williams likens to taking LSD., 
"You have to hallucinate every- 
thing you're seeing. You're look- 
ing at a focal point and then you 
have to track it and somehow give it 
some sense of reality. Bob Hoskins ^ 
said that after making Who Framed § 
Roger Rabbit he was in a bank one day | 
and saw a weasel on a woman's ear. He | 
said, 'That's it! I'm not going through that "j| 
again!' What surprised me about Jumanji £ 
was how much they could do. The ultimate g 
challenge, the one thing they can't do, is peo- g- 
pie, because of all the angles and textures of w 
the human face. But they're evolving. I know | 
it will only be a short time before they could ~ 
punch up my face, give me Marlon Brando's | 
voice and Rob Lowe's body, and then it's vir- §■ 
tual reality. That's why people have to fight | 
for the rights of who they are. You must liter- | 
ally copyright your name and personality." s 
Still, if Williams were to take on another | 
comic book character — as he originally did g 
in Robert Altman's Popeye — he's bound to | 
need his very own manic character. "Would I £_ 
like to play somebody else in rubber? Yes, | 
there are a lot of great ones. I collect comic = 
books. There are so many comic-book char- 


acters. but so many of them are also really 
violent, and I don't know about adding more 
violence to a world that's already buried by 

But I can think of a couple. There's one 
called Madman — it's an obscure comic." 

Williams contends that he won't make a 
Mrs. Doubtfire sequel because he doesn't 
like repeating himself. But he obviously has 
different criteria when it comes to providing 
his voice for animated characters like 
.Aladdin's Genie, a character he's reprising in 
the upcoming direct-to-video sequel Aladdin 
and the King of Thieves. What's the appeal of 
endowing a cartoon with a voice? "'It's a 
blast." he responds. "It was so much fun to do 
a cartoon voice, because they really are great 
animators at Disney, and they do all the 
work. You just do it basically forthright, and 
•.hen they come in with those big hard pencils 
and they finish it off. The animators feed you 
an idea and you try something, and then they 
pick what they like." 

Some of Williams' fondest memories 
have to do with working on Mork and Mindy. 
the TV series that made him famous, where 
he played the world's zaniest extraterrestrial. 
"Just working with Pam Dawber and 
Jonathan Winters was great fun," he recalls. 
"'The first time Jonathan showed up. the net- 
work executive went, 'Aah!' One exec came 
to me and said, "Robin, you're the funniest 
man since Jack Carter! ' Then. I realized we 
were doomed." 

Dramatic Directions 

Williams also recalls his stage experi- 
ences fondly, and expresses his desire to redo 
Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which 
he did Off-Broadway. He feels it's by appear- 
ing on stage, in front of an audience, that he 
is able to harness his own imagination, which 
may otherwise run loose. "I have the outlet 
on stage, which is a cesspool of conscious- 
ness, so I don't need to resort to more drastic 
measures," he says, laughing. ""I do have a 
relief when I perform. It goes way beyond 
therapy for me." 

At the same time, ask him about the films 
he's proudest of and you may be surprised by 
the response. "I would think Dead Poets 
Society, because I was working with Peter 
Weir, and Awakenings, which was this amaz- 
ing experience of meeting and working with 
someone like [noted doctor] Oliver Sacks. It 
was like doing a movie and meeting Albert 
Schweitzer. And then the people he intro- 
duced me to. all the different patients that he 
worked with — it was extraordinary." 

When you point out that it's interesting that 
a comedian would single out his most dramat- 
ic parts, Williams swings in a new direction. 
'"Actually, the movie I'm the most proud of is 
this movie that hasn't even come out yet. The 
» Birdcage, a remake of La Cage awe Folles, 
I which Mike Nichols directed. If it turns out as 
^ well as it seemed to go while we were shoot- 
1 bag, it's going to be quite extraordinary. It's a 
; onderful combination of comedy and drama. 
= hysterically funny and very, very touching. I 
* plav the straight role. What does that mean in a 
= gay comedy? I play the husband character, the 
o more male of the two [with Nathan Lane as his 

Just working with Pam Dawber and 
Jonathan Winters was great fun," 
remembers Williams of his Mork and 
MindyTV series. 

co-star]. Everybody expected me to do the 
drag part, so I did the other one! I try different 
comic gears, not always manic. A drier kind of 
comedy is fun, and to see it work on another 
level is exciting." 

"Fairy tales were 
designed originally 

to tell kids, yes, 
things can eat you." 

In his life, the actor has experienced sim- 
ilar highs and lows. In fact, a few years ago, 
he went through a pretty rough period. When 
he looks back, Williams feels lucky that he's 
survived, especially since other people 
who'd had a substance abuse problem didn't. 
"You think, if you had had one bad batch, 
you could have been dead or busted," he 
offers candidly. "You think of all the places 
you've been and all the wild times, and you 
realize you could have ended up either 
way — in prison or in the morgue. Somehow 
you're lucky, you survived. The reality of liv- 
ing in Los Angeles is that I used to worry all 
the time about where I was in the food chain. 
You park your car and the parking lot atten- 
dant will go, 'Sorry about last weekend's 
grosses, man, but that's OK, maybe another 
script will come..." 

"But, rough as it was, there were wonder- 
ful times in the middle of it. I met great peo- 
ple in the middle of that madness. I met Eric 
Idle, and some of my best friends come from 
that time. And I came through it. you know?" 

If he insists on calling that period "mad- 
ness," it's because "it was triggered by wor- 
rying about having to keep going or people 
would lose track of you. It wasn't just work- 
ing and doing what you do. I'd worry about. 
'Oh, I'm not doing well: I gotta get going: I 
gotta do this or that,' and trying to keep your- 
self going rather than just working." 

Today, he tries to satisfy his artistic urges 
by sometimes taking on character roles (like 
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen or 

Nine Months). For example, he played the 
role of the Professor in Joseph Conrad's The 
Secret Agent, a chemist who makes bombs 
for sale. "It was interesting playing someone 
so amoral. It frees you so. because you don't 
have to worry about being likable." says the 
actor. "It's quite extraordinary, because 
you're not under the pressure of selling the 
movie, and you can just do your work. I 
would rather do that. The nice thing is. as you 
get older, you just do character parts. I have 
no desire, or as time goes by and I get furri- 
er — except for playing Coco Chanel in the 
musical — to keep doing romantic leads. 
Doing a movie is like running a marathon, so 
it's nice to just work for a week and be free." 

Williams' latest career choices have him 
doing some unusual things. He reprises child- 
hood once more as Jack, a 10-year-old child 
who has aged unnaturally into adult form. 
Francis Ford Coppola's directing the dramedy 
which also features Diane Lane (as Williams' 
mother). Bill Cosby and Fran Drescher. Then. 
Williams will play a small role (as Osric) in 
director/star Kenneth Branagh's all-star film 
version of Hamlet, reuniting Williams with his 
Dead Again director. 

To avoid the pressures of stardom. 
Williams chose to live in San Francisco, 
"where people don't care if you're a movie 
star. I was walking on Castro Street one time 
and Sister Mary 'Boom Boom' from the Sis- 
ters of Perpetual Indulgence said, 'There 
goes the neighborhood!" Up here. I'm not 
involved. People know if your movies do 
well and sometimes if they don"t, but it's not 
a way of life." 

Now, after 25 years, nobody points at 
Robin Williams when he walks down the 
street. "Nobody cares," he says with plea- 
sure. « 



"I remember being in the sixth grade and 
feeling fat and small — and slow and 
white," Williams says. Now, he's rich and 

STARLOG/Ma;r/; 1996 35 

I e s 

(Ye s , 
genre veteran 
John Lithgow — 
who counts among 
his many credits The 
Adventures of Buckaroo 
Banzai: Across the Eighth 
Dimension and Twilight Zone — 
The Movie — has zoomed back into 
the science fiction universe, and this time 
he's hanging out on the 3rd Rock from the 
Sun. In the new SF sitcom, which airs on 
NBC and is produced by the team behind The 
Cosby Show and Roseanne, Lithgow portrays 
the high commander of a group of four alien 
researchers/scientists dispatched from their 
never-identified home planet to study 
humans. Thus, the foursome form a human- 
looking, if comically dysfunctional, family. 

Lithgow becomes Dick Solomon, a 
physics professor at an Ohio university and 
the de facto family patriarch. Kristen John- 
son, the team's second-in-command, trans- 
forms into Sally Solomon, Dick's sister, who 
can't quite abide the place of women in 
Earth's modern society. French Stewart is 
Dick's somewhat spacey couch potato broth- 
er Harry. Finally, there's Joseph Gordon- 
Levitt, who becomes Tommy, Dick's horny 

it's the lighter side of 
alien invasion as John 
Lithgow studies those 
who dwell on the 3rd 
Rock from the Sun. 


teenage son. Tommy is particularly dis- 
tressed about being in an adolescent's body, 
because, in his alien form, he's actually older 
than Dick. 

Every week, viewers will come to know 
each character a little better as the Solomons 

ally and 
ly — in the tra- 
dition of alien 
"fish out of water" 
tales — learn about all 
things human. Further, 
the Solomons, who are still 
getting used to their new skins, 
must watch quite helplessly as their 
human bodies react to assorted stimula- 
tions, ailments and their new environment in 
ways that their alien bodies never did back 
home. Adding to the fun and creating comic 
contrast are former Saturday Night Live star 
Jane Curtin as Dr. Mary Albright, a professor 
who shares an office with Dick and who vari- 
ously despises Dick and finds herself attract- 
ed to him; Simbi Khali as Nina, an acerbic 
assistant often caught in the middle of Dick 
and Mary's sparring matches; and Elmarie 
Wendel as Mrs. Dubcek, the Solomon's off- 
kilter landlord. Also in the cast is Ian Lithgow 
(the actor's son) as Leon, the dumbest of 
Dick's students. 

Lithgow reports that the prospect of com- 
mitting to the TV series didn't cause him to 
lose any sleep. "It was an easy decision, 
because I did want to do it immediately. It 
was such an attractive job for all sorts of rea- 

36 STARLOG/Af«;r/; 1996 

On 3rd Rock from the Sun, John 

Lithgow's the studious alien trying to 

understand Jane Curtin and her fellow 

sitcom humans. 

sons, most notably the wonderful people and 
the wonderful material," he says. "You don't 
take on a TV series lightly. It is monumental. 
I had always professed to never intending to 
do a series. So, I was breaking one of my 
cardinal rules. I just sat down with all these 
people [the producers/creators] and thought. 
'What have I been holding out for? These are 
wonderful people doing a smart thing that 
can be nothing but fun.' That feeling doesn't 
come along very often." 

When Lithgow committed to 3rd Rock, 
the next step was to film the pilot. Once shot, 
the episode was turned over to ABC, then the 
network planning to air the series. For a vari- 
ety of reasons — which rumor has it ranged 
from cost to quality, and from politics to time 
slot dilemmas — ABC eventually dropped its 
option on 3rd Rock. Soon. NBC picked up 
the option, and now the top-rated network is 
fully behind the show. Lithgow says that the 
network change didn't cause any alter- 
ations in the show's nature. "The style 
and substance of the series has always 
been what [creators/executive pro 
ducers] Bonnie and Terry Turner 
created. I don't know much about 
the politics of what happened 
that weekend in May," recalls 
the actor, "when it went from an 
ABC pilot to an NBC pilot. But 
I think ABC was a little wary 
and only willing to put it on 
Saturday night. NBC pursued it 
aggressively, guaranteed it a 
mid-season slot and told us to do 
13 episodes." 

So it is, then, that Lithgow and 
company have already finished their 
first baker's dozen episodes, which are 
currently airing. "We look back on the 
pilot as our conservative episode." reveals 
Lithgow, lauahina. "Yes, I'm afraid that's 

true. We had the burden of exposition in that 
episode. As the 13 episodes proceed, we 
have less and less explaining to do. It 
k was very liberating. We get far more 

B flamboyant as the show goes on. At 

the end of the 13 episodes, 
assuming people are still watch- 
ing, they'll know who we are 
and what we're doing, and 
they can just go with the 
story. The form of the series 
is that in every episode we'll 
grapple with some new 
aspect of the human condi- 
tion, some very basic and 
primary, some very specific 
and trivial. 

"There's a marvelous 
episode ["Post-Nasal Dick"] 
where the poor aliens fall ill for 
the first time and think they're 
going to die. We've done a jealousy 
episode. There has been an anger 
episode. There's one where I become 
addicted to smoking and have to quit. 
There's a great one about art, about what 
makes human beings want and need to create 
art. Another of our very best shows is called 
'Dick's First Birthday,' where we realize it's 
important that we act our age. Dick becomes 
infatuated with a graduate student and makes 
a fool of himself over her. The great thing 
about our premise is that it can take us every- 
where. The last show we did, I think, is our 
best. John Mahoney" — the Frasier co-star 
and a Lithgow friend since the two worked 
together in The Manhattan Project, who con- 
vinced Lithgow to try series TV — "is our 
guest star. He plays an extremely unpleasant 
and detested professor who dies at a cocktail 
party. It's his dying wish that I, the only hon- 
est man he knows, deliver his eulogy. So, it's 
an episode about life and death. It's hilari- 
ously funny and wonderfully profound. That 

Photo: Chris Haston 

AH Sun Photos: Copyright 1996 NBC. Inc. 

Lithgow hopes to further explore Earth as 
an alien, but he cautions, "It remains to be 
seen if the world needs farce SF." 

STARLOG/Ma/r// 7996 

gives you a little taste, actually a pretty 
healthy taste, of what we're up to here." 

One of the most effective on-screen 
comic devices has always been the outsider 
creating chaos in a very orderly society. 
Think the Marx Brothers. Lithgow suggests 
that the legendary comedians and their films 
are the template for the shenanigans on 3rd 
Rock. "Nobody notices I'm an alien because 
everybody else in this environment is just as 
eccentric as I am," says Lithgow, laughing. 
"We know all the knowledge we need to 
know, but what we don't know is what makes 
humans tick, their behavior and their emo- 
tions. That's the essence of our comedy. Sci- 
ence fiction is full of wonderful metaphors 
for human behavior. An innocent or an out- 
sider trying to figure out where he stands, 
that's kind of the essence of our farce. I'm 
not sure you would call any of what we're 
doing drama, but there's a great deal of truth 
and a lot of heart in it. We make people laugh 
awfully hard, but we also make you think, 
and it's often very, very touching." 

As played by Lithgow, who also com- 
pares 3rd Rock's comic energy to that of 
Monty Python, Dick doesn't display much in 
the way of alien behavior. None of the char- 
acters do, even if Dick has a tendency to refer 
to himself as the High Commander and 
Harry finds Martha Stewart so incredibly edi- 
ble he eats her photo. Instead, the Solomons 
resemble slightly odd human beings whose 

somewhat eccentric behavior will probably 
tone down a bit as they become more com- 
fortable with themselves, their bodies and the 
way in which humans behave. 

For Lithgow, then, and particularly in the 
case of Dick, there's not much difference 
between portraying a human and portraying 
an alien. "In a sense, I think of him less as an 
alien and more of a child in a man's body. If 
you can imagine a six-year-old suddenly 
being given a 50-year-old's body and brain, 
but still stuck with a six-year-old's emotional 
responses, that's more or less my device." 
says Lithgow. "The comedy that Tom Hanks 
got out of a boy in a man's body in Big, that's 
the closest comparison I can make. 

"What I've also found charming and 
funny about Dick is his arrogance. Another 
great comic device is the man who's full of 
himself slipping on a banana peel. Dick sim- 
ply assumes he has no failings, that he's 
infallible. He doesn't know that there's any- 
thing wrong with thinking that of yourself. 
Comic arrogance is something that I've had a 
lot of fun with over the years." 

Another pro at comic arrogance is Lith- 
gow's 3rd Rock foil and potential romantic 
interest, Jane Curtin. SF aficionados remem- 
ber Curtin as the pointy-headed Prymaat, the 
Remulakian matriarch from the Saturday 
Night Live Coneheads sketches and their 
1993 film comedy failure. Lithgow speaks 
highly of Curtin. but notes that mention of 
the Coneheads is rather rare on the 3rd Rock 
set. "Jane doesn't seem to be that amused by 

the subject [of the Coneheads] anymore. I 
think it's a relief for her not to be one of the 
aliens in 3rd Rock. As far as working with 
Jane, it's the best comic collaboration I've 
ever had with another actor," enthuses Lith- 
gow. "When you think of Jane Curtin and the 
things she has done, you tend to think of her 
partnered with Dan Aykroyd. John Belushi. 
Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner — all sorts of 
wonderful partners. 

"There's a reason for that. She's abso- 
lutely great at working with other people. 
Jane is unselfish. She knows when she's sup- 
posed to be funny, but also when it's some- 
body else's moment. She's a marvelously 
down-to-earth person who has also seen it all. 
She's very, very pure and unflappable on the 
set. Jane doesn't do all of our episodes. She 
lives in Connecticut and she flies in and flies 
out. The episodes without Jane are much, 

ver the years, John Lithgow has become a favorite of 
1STARLOG readers, not just for his consistently memo- 
I rable performances in a variety of SF and related genre 
^JIsF film and TV productions, but also for his equally enter- 
taining interviews in the pages of this magazine. Think issues #75, 

Lithgow's best-ever 


experience was also 

a "Nightmare at 

20,000 Feet" in a visit 

to The Twilight Zone. 

With Ellen Barkin and Peter Weller, Lithgow 
made Buckaroo Banzai a sensation for "a 
tiny cult of brainy hipsters." 

#93 and #121. 
Though he has previ- 
ously discussed 
almost all of his 
genre efforts, particu- 
larly older outings, in 
earlier conversations, 
the actor agrees to 
quickly look at a few 
of them through the 
prism of time. 

Twilight Zone — 
The Movie (1983), 
in which he starred in 
the "Nightmare at 
20.000 Feet" remake: 

"I have said for years that that was the most intense, probably 
the best, moviemaking experience I've ever had. I was working 
with [director] George Miller, who is a marvelous man and quite 
a brilliant filmmaker when he's working with the right material. 
I think it was a breakthrough film for me because it was the first 
one where I used all of my equipment. Until then. I had been 
afraid of going too far. Well, I've been going too far ever since." 

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth 
Dimension, in which he portrayed the deranged Dr. Emilio 
Lizardo opposite Peter Weller's heroic title character: "Until I 
did 3rd Rock from the Sun, Buckaroo Banzai was the hardest and 
longest I had ever laughed. We just never stopped laughing the 
whole time we did that film. We thought we were going to 
change the world with Buckaroo Banzai. We thought it would be 
just as much of a sensation as Star Wars. Well, it turned out to be 
a sensation, but only for a tiny cult of brainy hipsters." 

Zone Photo: Copyright 1983 Warner Bros. Inc. 

38 STARLOG/M«rc7; 1996 

much harder because we don't have her even 
keel and her ballast, to use nautical images." 
Currently, and for the foreseeable future. 
Mary won't realize that Dick is an alien, even 
though he confesses it to her. albeit in an ine- 
briated state, during an early episode. The 
game plan, reveals Lithgow. calls for their 
relationship to swing back and forth between 
antagonism and attraction. That notion and. 
in fact, the show's concept as a whole, makes 
sense and might very well work, at least for a 
while. Anyone who loved and later loathed 
the Bruce Willis-Cybill Shepherd romantic- 
comedy/detective series Moonlighting may 
be seeing some scary writing on the wall as 
far as 3rd Rock is concerned. 

lago, Othello a Dick 

Does 3rd Rock have a limiting and limited 
premise? It's a fair question, and one about 
which Lithgow has obviously thought. "The 
limit is how long people want to watch it. We 
do have a premise that can take us much fur- 
ther than most comedy premises can. just 
because everything these people experience, 
they're experiencing for the first time," 
argues Lithgow. ""That literally leaves out 
nothing. I'm not a fool. I know eventually 
people may get tired of me or a certain kind 
of joke. They will get tired of a series after a 
while, but I do think we have a car here that 
can drive pretty far." 

Prior to 3rd Rock. Lithgow had seemingly- 
spent the better part of the last few years spe- 
cializing in villainous roles in such big 

screen outings as the Denzel Washington 
thriller Ricochet. Brian De Palma's eccentric 
psychological thriller Raising Cain and the 
Sylvester Stallone actioner Cliffhanger. "I 
think [3rd Rock] was a bit of an antidote to 
that. It was beginning to dismay me how peo- 
ple thought of me only as a bad guy. It does 
not take long for people to forget everything 
else you've ever done," he says, possibly 
alluding to fine work in such films as The 
World According to Garp (which earned him 
an Oscar nomination). Terms of Endearment 
and Memphis Belle. 

"When I did that string of Ricochet, Rais- 
ing Cain and Cliffhanger, which were all 
psycho villains, they had a sameness to them 
that was worrying to me. One of my tenets as 
an actor is to be as different as I can every 
time out, and I was beginning to be awfully 
similar. It was time to break that mold. If I 
hadn't done 3rd Rock, whatever I did proba- 
bly would not have been a villain role. I cer- 
tainly enjoyed them 
while they were going 
on. They are big. 
meaty roles. Iago is 
always a much more 
fun role than Othello." 

All in all. Lithgow 
sounds quite pleased 
to be making his 
return to SF and to be 
doing time on planet 
Earth in 3rd Rock 
from the Sun. "We've 

been deep into SF since 1977, when Star 
Wars came out. SF and the action film have 
been the dominant form [in terms of box- 
office success]. George Lucas and Steven 
Spielberg have a lot to answer for. What's fun 
about 3rd Rock is that it's farcical, satiric and 
it uses the SF form to puncture bubbles. 
There's so much SF out there, and not just 
SF. actually, but paranormal things, like The 
X-Files. All of them have a gravity to them. 
Some of them are super-serious, if not grim. 
They don't really have a light touch. 

"Well, 3rd Rock is exactly the opposite. It 
remains to be seen if the world needs farce 
SF. But if it works, we'll probably see a lot of 
imitators." And. if it works, John Lithgow 
could be playing Dick for a long time to 
come. "If it takes off. I'll have to stick with it. 
whether I want to or not. I'm working with 
people I adore. I can't imagine success 
changing any of them. If it's to go five years, 
we're off to a very good start." •&■ 

2010, the long-awaited sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 
which Lithgow and Roy Scheider go to check out the Discovery: 
""That was probably the most special FX-laden movie I've been in, 
and with all the frustrations involved. I felt like I was a cog in the 
machine. It was a bubbling machine, but I certainly was just a cog." 
'owe, which cast Lithgow as B.Z., a cor- 
rupt toymaker who tries to thwart Santa from making his rounds: 
""I thought Santa Clans was kind of a misguided children's 
movie. It seemed to be made by people who didn't know what 
children like. It was the antithesis of Toy Story, one of my 

favorite films of 

"The Doll" 
episode of Amazing 
Stories, in which 
Lithgow played a 
shy man who fell in 
love with a doll. His 
touching perfor- 
mance earned Lith- 
gow a 1987 Emmy 
Award: "That was a 
wonderful experi- 
ence. I felt like I 
was in a little 
French film of 40 
years ago. It was 
very, very charming. 
I was working with 
Phil Joanou, who 
was fresh out of 
USC. The show had 

Just "a cog in the machine," Lithgow felt frustrated by the 
special FX requirements of odysseying to 2070. 

a kind of romantic innocence which was unique. You don't see 
that very often." 

lin, which marked Lithgow 's third collaboration 
with director Brian De Palma, after Obsession and Blow Out. Lith- 
gow played several roles — twin brothers and their father, one in 
drag! — in the much-maligned thriller: "By the time I got around to 
that film. Brian and I were 
old friends and we had a 
great shorthand. He 
involved me in the creative 
process, probably more 
than I was on any other film 
I've been in. I was disap- 
pointed Raising Cain didn't 
do better. While we were 
working on it, I thought it 
was an ingenious kind of 
Chinese puzzle of a film." 
— Ian Spelling 

According to Lithgow, 

Santa Claus (co-starring 

elfin Dudley Moore) was 

made by "people who 

didn't know what 

children like." 




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hen 10-year-old Vince Lee first saw Star 
Wars at a Concorde, California drive-in. he 
was impressed — but not that impressed. "I 
hadn't seen many movies to compare it 
with." says Lee, who remembers having a 
grape-throwing fight with his older brother 
in the back seat before the movie. "I 
thought all movies were like Star Wars." 

Hal Barwood can't help rolling his eyes at Lee's reminiscence, 
which underscores the age difference between them. The bearded 
Barwood — who has the look and sharp tone of a younger Robert 
Culp — attended USC film school with Star Wars creator George 
Lucas in the 1960s. Now Star Wars has brought these two men 
together — Lee and Barwood are collaborators on the latest 
LucasArts Entertainment Company CD-ROM action game. Rebel 
Assault II: The Hidden Empire. 

"George Lucas was especially concern __ 
quality show," says Vince Lee, the creator an 
leader of Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire. 

The cameras are rolling on the 
Star Wars universe again, but this 
time it's for CD-ROM combat. 


QRWflBE llllllfllllllll 

PILOTS ttOr***| SCORE 0000575 

"This was a very ambitious project," Lee offers. To make sure that all of the action 
flowed smoothly, Lee storyboarded the game extensively. 

This project has also assembled the cream 
of Lucas Arts' crop, says lead artist Richard 
Green, and with good reason. Rebel Assault 
II pushes the envelope of games mixing 
playable action with video sequences. It's 
definitely a milestone for Star Wars fans — 
the video shot for this film constitutes the 
first new Star Wars footage in years. And 
with its original story and full-motion video, 
it's a milestone for LucasArts. one of three 

— — — 

"I recently saw 

footage of a Donny 

& Marie show 

with dancing 

stormtroopers. I 

was in awe." 

' - -'~MWJ"-» ■' -■" "i-L-N- i .- i ■ ' 

Lucas companies and producer of many of 
the industry's hottest games. ''George Lucas 
was especially concerned that this be a qual- 
ity show," says Lee, the game's creator and 
project leader. "If you're going to do video 
with his name on it, you had better do it well. 
"Actually, I was the first person to say, 
'Let's not do Rebel Assault II,' " laughs Lee, 
who had led the charge on Rebel Assault. But 
1993's Rebel Assault became LucasArts' 
bestselling game, and one of the bestselling 
CD-ROMs ever. This caught LucasArts by 
surprise. "We only started doing Star Wars 
because of Larry Holland and Totally 

DARCY SULLIVAN. California-based writer, 
previewed Toy Story in issue #221 . 

Games' success with X-Wing," says Bar- 
wood. "We thought, 'There's gold in them 
thar hills." " 

With Rebel Assault sales topping one mil- 
lion units, a sequel was as inevitable as a Han 
Solo wisecrack. "The last thing I wanted to do 
was duplicate the original," Lee says. "But I 
had been developing new technology that I 
knew I could incorporate into the game. I knew 
the new one could be better structured, look 
better, feel better and have an original story." 

Video added another dimension entirely 
to play with. In the short four years since 
Rebel Assault — the equivalent of light years 
in Silicon Valley — the compression tools 
needed to squeeze video onto CDs improved 
immeasurably. Even so, Barwood notes, the 
information fed from the CD-ROM to the 
screen is about l/40th the amount of infor- 
mation on a TV screen and l/800th that on a 
movie screen. 

Using video meant Lee and his cohorts 
could use real actors instead of animated 
drawings. "The first game is really Monty 
Pythonesque." notes Lee, referring to its ani- 
mated characters. "It was good for the time. 
but it's obvious that those are computer-ani- 
mated drawings, not people." Also unlike 
Rebel Assault, the sequel features a new sce- 
nario dreamed up by Lee, featuring some 
characters from the first game. It begins 
when various rebel squadrons disappear, 
leading a handful of rebel-rousers to realize 
the Empire has a new secret weapon. "As the 
game progresses, you get more and more 
information on the weapon," says Lee, "and 
you have to plan a strategy to destroy it." 

Through 15 game levels, you zip with 
your alter-ego. Rookie One, from one dicey 
situation to the next. You pilot starfighters 

and a speeder bike, careen through an aster- 
oid field and dodge blasts from seemingly 
endless numbers of TIE fighters and 
stormtroopers. Whereas Rebel Assault was 
largely spacebound. Rebel Assault II has 
many other locations: enemy bases, the 
inside of a star destroyer, even an unnamed 
desert planet. "It's hard coming up with sci- 
ence-fictiony names." jokes Lee. "They've 
all got a lot of 'R's and "K's in them." 

Video wars 

To bring all this excitement to the PC 
screen. Lee marshaled a team that combined 
video footage with 3-D computer animation. 
Barwood was chosen to head the former after 
Lucas himself told Lee to seek out someone 
who knew about films, not just games. 

Barwood. a LucasArts game designer, has 
some solid production and writing experi- 
ence, including the fantasy film Dragonslay- 
er. which he co-wrote with longtime partner 
Matthew Robbins and also produced. In addi- 
tion. Barwood directed 1985's Warning Sign, 
a low-budget SF ecothriller. "I finally figured 
out how to do that kind of film after I saw 
Outbreak." he quips. "It's easy to create real- 
istic-looking sores on a $40-million budget." 

Barwood came on board with some fairly 
strong ideas about how video should be used 
in a game. "Most game people have a rather 
primitive idea about it," he contends. "They 
think of video itself as a selling point, a bul- 
let on the box." 

Fortunately, Barwood and Lee see eye-to- 
eye about the importance of making video 
footage advance the story and anchor the 
game in reality. "There are two schools of 
thought on how video should be used in a 
game," says Lee. "The thought that Holly- 

42 STARLOG/MarcA 1996 

wood has adopted is that 
you see a different video 
scene depending on what 
you do. But that doesn't 
make sense if it doesn't 
mean anything to you, if 
you're just choosing this 
path or that one." 

"That is called 'bor- 
ing,' " Barwood interjects. 

'The video in Rebel 
Assault II is meant to 
advance the story," Lee 
continues. "It's not trivial 
branching — it involves 
your progress as a pilot in 
this saga." 

Barwood filmed the 
video scenes on a sound- 
stage in San Rafael. Cal- 
ifornia (where Lucas 
Arts is located), over a 
total of eight days in February and May 
1995, following storyboards developed by 
Lee and Paul Topolous. The cast included 16 
actors and another dozen rebel extras, "a lot 
of them just heads in cockpits that get blown 
to smithereens because the bad guys got 
there first," according to Barwood. Star Wars 
authenticity and production values were 
guaranteed. Not only did Lee and company 
have to clear any new designs or ideas with 
the Lucas organization's licensing depart- 
ment, but many actors wore actual costumes 

from the films. "'We were dealing with props 
that were 12 years old," points out Lee. "It 
felt like being part of history." 

That had its downside. "The stormtrooper 
outfits are quite fragile, and the foam in the 
helmets was crumbling away," reveals Bar- 
wood. "Those outfits are hard to move 
around in, and they clatter like someone 
buckled Tupperware all over you and made 
you run down the hall. I recently saw footage 
of a Donny & Marie show with dancing 
stormtroopers. I was in awe." 

Despite the costumes and 
props, the rest of the video 
production was uncharacter- 
istically spartan for a Star 
Wars epic. Barwood directed 
the actors — including princi- 
pals Jamison Jones as Rookie 
One, Julie Eccles as his men- 
tor Ru Murleen, Gary Mar- 
tinez as Admiral Sarn and 
Andrew Nelson as Darth 
Vader — on a bare set against 
a blue screen. The art crew, 
led by Green, digitally creat- 
ed all the backgrounds. On 
stage, plain columns stood in 
for futuristic gadget towers. 


Thanks to Dragonslayer, 
Barwood had experience 
working with a blue screen, 
and he had some extra help this time around. 
"We had pre -rendered some mockup models in 
3-D, and we had live compositing of the image 
on stage." explains Green. Thus, Barwood 
could watch monitors showing the live actors 
moving through a rough-draft digital "set." 

"A big chunk of the video footage takes 
place in cockpits," says Lee. "We really 
wanted to give the feeling of movement 
inside the cockpit, but the camera is locked 
down for the shots. So we built a platform on 
an inner tube connected by chains to posts. 

"They clatter like someone buckl 
all over you and made you run down the hall," 
video footage director Hal Barwood reveals of 
the stormtrooper costumes. 

SYAKLOGI March 1996 43 

The actor would sit on the platform, and the 
stagehands would jolt it around at Hal's 

While the enemies are animated during 
most of the playable scenes. Rookie One's 
"sprite" (jargon for a character or item that 
moves in a video game) is usually a video 
image. "Shooting those images was tough, 
because the actor was basically firing his 
weapon at 25 marks on a blue screen." Lee 

The mockup animated backgrounds were 
later fully rendered by Green's artists. "At the 
peak, we had 14 artists, which is the biggest 
art crew we've ever had for a game," he says. 
Of this bunch, the overachiever award must 

go to Garry Gaber. who did the artwork for 
two-and-a-half levels. New designs included 
the secret-weapon TIE fighter (designed by 
Green after a sketch in The Art of The Empire 
Strikes Back) and a wild Empire installation. 
"We needed a mining facility in an asteroid 
field," says Green, "and Jon Knoles and I 
came up with the idea for a Saturn-like space 
station, where the station is built around a 
rock. First you're in the outer disk, then 
you're inside this asteroid where these big 
robotic arms are hollowing it out." 

It's no exaggeration to describe the 
game's detail as incredibly painstaking. Burn 
marks show up where shots from Rookie 
One's blaster hit the wall. During a ware- 

house scene, you can shoot out the light. "It 
doesn't help you. but you get points for it," 
Green notes. Artists such as Ron Lussier 
labored to make the ships move the way they 
did in the films. "It seems real natural," 
Green comments, watching the Millennium 
Falcon careen through an Empire hangar. 
"but it took a very conscious effort on Ron's 
part to make the ship move the way it did in 
the movies. He did a great job of conveying 
its mass." 

In this game, it's sometimes hard to tell 
where video "reality" ends and the anima- 
tors' artistry begins. Take the scene where 
Rookie One blows away a stormtrooper 
guarding the Millennium Falcon. "If he had 
fallen on the hard floor in that costume, the 
costume would have broken," says Green. 
"So the actor just stepped back. Artist Eric 
Ingerson overlaid an animated stormtrooper 
onto the real one and dropped the real one 
out. so the animated one takes the fall." 

Artists turned their work over to Mark 
Christiansen, who handled most of the com- 
positing of the digitized video and animated 
backgrounds. The files then went to art tech- 
nicians led by Aaron Muszalski, who 
smoothed things out, improved the visual 
continuity between scenes, and made any 
changes needed to compress the files. After 
the files were compressed via Lee's Smush 
program, Lee added music and sound FX, and 
joined scenes into entire game sequences. 

44 STARLOG/V/mr/! 1996 


"This was a very ambitious project," Lee 
emphasizes. 'There are some 175 video 
shots, about 45 minutes' worth, and every 
shot had to be composited with the anima- 
tion." Then there are the animation-only 
scenes, the special FX and the music, a digi- 
tized — "but not synthesized" — version of 
John Williams' original film scores, per- 
formed by the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Just to top things off, Lee found time in 
the middle of the production to build a fake 
X-wing cockpit — a mockpit. if you will — 
out of fiberboard and old computer pieces. 
Sitting in the LucasArts offices, it looks for 
all the world like a hyperspace soapbox 
derby racer. 


Rebel Assault II took off like a speeder 
bike on its Thanksgiving release as an IBM- 
compatible CD-ROM (Mac users had to wait 
until Christmas for their version). Clearly, 
both Star Wars and now Rebel Assault are 
presold commodities, but Lee and Barwood 
feel the new game's ultimate success also 
hinges on their conception of what a game, 
and a game with video, should be. For one 
thing, it should be playable. "I'm not inter- 
ested in games I can't finish." Barwood 
reports. The first game had three difficulty 
levels, and Lee added one he dubs "extra 

"Star Wars never 

sank to the level of 

soap opera." 

easy" for Rebel Assault II. "We found that 
Rebel Assault attracted the widest range of 
players," he says, "from those who had never 
played a CD-ROM game before to seasoned 
players. I want it to appeal to everyone" That 
doesn't mean the game's a cinch — just try 
zigzagging the Millennium Falcon through a 
twisting tunnel of rock in Level 3. defeating a 
TIE-fighter armada in Level 8 or hurtling 
through a steel gate in Level 13 (hint: you 
have to blow off the bolts if you don't want to 
eat metal). 

The Rebel Assault II crew also insist that 
the video should suit the game, not the other 
way around. This means, for instance, keep- 
ing video segments brief. "The video intro to 
the game is about three-and-a-half minutes 
long," says Green. "One thing many games 
do wrong is have a big. boring 10-12-minute 

"I was watching GoldenEye the other 
day," Lee adds, "and during the title 
sequence, I thought, "If this were a game. I 
would be bored by now.' " Barwood finishes 
the thought: "When you have a mouse under 
your fingers, you want to click it." 

Game video should differ wildly from 
film scenes, says Barwood. "To a film writer, 
exposition is anathema," he says. "You're 
mostly interested in the emotional scenes. 
But game players won't tolerate a lot of 
video drama. They're very interested in 

exposition: where am I, what do I have to do 
and why. In Rebel Assault II, there are a lot of 
scenes of Admiral Sarn reporting to Darth 
Vader. We don't spend time with Sarn work- 
ing up the courage to see him, or worrying 
because his kids are at home with rickets." 

So, although Rebel Assault II features 
video and is, as Lee says, more "movie-like" 
than the original, the core team behind it 
doesn't view the game-to-film path as natur- 
al, or even desirable. They practically sneer 
when considering other products of "Sili- 
wood." the merger of Silicon Valley and Hol- 
lywood. Asked what the filmmakers behind 
the films Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon 
and Street Fighter did wrong, Barwood 
barks, "It's not so much that they failed; I 
would have been stunned if they succeeded. 
Games have a way of being fun that isn't nec- 
essarily dramatic. I have yet to see a game 
that suggests a movie." 

Even Rookie One. the gamemakers 
admit, is less a "character" than an Every- 
man-ish stand-in for the player. In casting 

for Rookie One, Lee says, "we wanted some- 
one young and enthusiastic, a little awkward, 
not a model type." 

"He's not an ace — that would be too hard 
to identify with," Barwood confirms. "By the 
end of the game, you are an ace." 

In the long run. Lee believes, video serves 
as an excellent way to draw people into the 
game. And that may be the real link to Star 
Wars — a film series that still draws new view- 
ers and committed fans into a galaxy far, far 
away. Asked what makes the pull so strong, 
Hal Barwood dissects away: "There's an overt 
heroism that's at odds with everyday life. Evil 
is a danger; being good is important. And Star 
Wars never sank to the level of soap opera. 
This is a universe in which things happen." 

But ask Vince Lee the same question and 
the boy wonder game designer becomes that 
grape-chucking 10-year-old at the drive-in, 
overwhelmed by Death Stars and wookiees 
and shootouts in space. Why are people so 
attracted to Star Wars! 

"It's just magic." w 



„ .o advance the story," 
vial branching— it involves your 
s saga." 

STARLOG/Mnrc/i 1996 45 

Au'th'e; sxcirl/'JBrs continue, iVl 
stackpfote trains the x-Wing Squadron, 

When the editors at Bantam Books 
decided they wanted to further 
explore the Star Wars Universe, 
they didn't have far to look for someone to 
pilot their new line of books. Michael A. 
Stackpole was ready to climb into the cockpit 
of an X-wing fighter and head for hyper- 

"Bantam took out a license based on the 
highly successful X-Wing computer game 
and decided they needed someone who could 
do military SF, work in someone else's uni- 
verse, work relatively quickly, do a good job. 

LOG correspondent, profiled Antonio Saba- 
to in STARLOG #216. 

knew computer games and who was one of 
their authors," Stackpole says. "So, Tom 
Dupree. my Bantam editor, tapped me to do 
this four-book X-Wing series." 

While Stackpole's Star Wars: X-Wing 
novels mark a departure from focusing on the 
saga's main characters, the secondary char- 
acters of Rogue Squadron have been equally 
interesting to explore. "It did strike me as 
interesting and really exciting in a couple of 
different ways," he remarks. "In the back of 
the mind of anyone who has ever seen Star 
Wars, there's this question of, 'I wonder what 
the other rebels are doing, and what the 
greater picture is.' 

"So. bringing in the other characters — 
which is what Lucasfilm wanted — was the 

exact sort of thing I wanted to do. I got to 
bring in aliens and explore their cultures, and 
bring women in and have them all in Rogue 
Squadron. I got to expand the universe." 

Rogue Leader 

That's not to say that Stackpole's tale is 
full of unknowns. Readers will recognize 
Wedge Antilles, the leader of Rogue 
Squadron, and Admiral Ackbar, among oth- 
ers. '"Primarily, it's Wedge and Ackbar who 
you will know and see. General Mon Moth- 
ma also shows up from time to time, just 
because I have to deal with the Rebel govern- 
ment. For any of the main characters to show 
up, I have to ask permission. A couple have 
cameo appearances. For instance, in the sec- 
ond book. Princess Leia shows up, and it was 
very important for her to do so for two rea- 
sons. One. she is part of the Rebel govern- 
ment, so it would be natural for her to be 
there. And. two. she has known Wedge for as 
long as she has known any of these other 
guys. So, having Wedge and Leia share a 
scene together, and talk about old times and 
how things have changed, was important. 

"From the movies, we know very little 
about Wedge: He's a hotshot fighter pilot 
who survived both Death Star battles, is obvi- 
ously Luke's friend and was given command 
of Rogue Squadron after Luke went off to 
become a Jedi. It was intriguing working 
with Wedge because there's so little in the 
films about him. West End Games has done 
some background on him, and I certainly 
worked from that. He's an interesting charac- 
ter because he's everybody's friend and 
everybody likes him, and yet he also has to 
be a very competent pilot and commander of 
this unit of competent pilots. When you have 
that many hotshot pilots in one place, it's like 
herding wet cats. So, I had to build a charac- 
ter who could pull it off. 

"Wedge is a great character. Originally, 
the series was just called the X-Wing books, 
but because Wedge is so critical, the first 
book is titled Rogue Squadron. Wedge is the 
reason the whole series got built around this 
very famous squadron. There's an amazing 
following for Wedge, which surprised me at 
first because he was a minor character. To 
some people, he is the Everyman, the guy 
doing the job that has to be done in this par- 
ticular place. I mean, there were, if you will, 
thousands of Wedge Antilleses in World War 
II — the guys who just went out and did the 
job. That's what's cool about him." 

Since most of the books' focus is on 
Rogue Squadron. Stackpole didn't get as 
much opportunity to work with Admiral Ack- 

46 STARLOG/March 1996 

"The events in those books form the 
historical backdrop for the cartoon 
series," the author reveals of his 
Battletech novels. 

bar. "What you see with Ackbar is someone 
who's a competent commander. There are 
points where he is humorous and able to 
make jokes, and other points where he's 
clearly compassionate and very concerned 
for his people and what's going on. That 
makes him the Dwight Eisenhower of the 
Star Wars Universe." 

Despite the fact that Bantam licensed the 
X-Wing game and Stackpole's novels do 
focus on an X-wing squadron of elite pilots, 
the books have little to do with their source 
of inspiration. "The actual computer game 
really only covers the events of Star Wars and 
ends at the Death Star." he states. "One early 
option was to set one X-Wing novel during 
Star Wars — we would see the backstory on a 
bunch of these characters — but I balked at 
that because I felt that it would be really- 
tough to do a novel that was suspenseful 
when everybody knows who lives and who 
dies. So, we kicked the series forward after 
Return of the Jedi and Kathy Tyers" The 
Truce at Bakura, but before Timothy Zahn's 
books. Where the X-Wing computer game 
helped was that I got to log time essentially 
in the cockpit of an X-wing and later in the 
cockpit of a TIE fighter. That gave me a feel 
for how the different ships perform." 

Having established the time period and 
the use of Wedge for the series, the Phoenix. 
Arizona-based author searched for a signifi- 
cant adventure. "Because I wasn't going to 
have the main characters. I realized that I had 
better have an event that was pretty critical 
within the Star Wars Universe to give it some 
appeal to readers. It struck me that when 
Return of the Jedi occurs, the rebels don't 
have the Imperial Homeworld, but in Zahn 

"I asked, 'Can I take the Imperial Home- 
world?' and Lucasfilm said, 'Yeah, sure,' " 
Michael A. Stackpole says of the genesis 
of Star Wars: X-Wing— Rogue Squadron. 

and Dave Wolverton's books, they do. So. I 
knew it had to be taken by the rebels some- 
where along the line. So, I asked, 'Can I take 
the Imperial Homeworld?' and Lucasfilm 
said, 'Yeah, sure.' That became the focus, the 
core event in this series. One of the toughest 
things in taking the damn Imperial Home- 
world is that in Zahn's novels, he establishes 
what the defenses were, and man, were they 
tough to crack. I really had to rack my brain. 
It made the Death Star look like a cakewalk. 

"There are many other events that go on 
attendant to taking the planet. One nice thing 
was that I really got a chance, in an action 
series, to explore the characters. We see some 
of their homeworlds and such. It was espe- 
cially fun getting to write the scenes that are 
set on Coruscant, the Imperial Homeworld, 
both before and after it falls." 

Stackpole says that Rogue Squadron 
accomplishes two goals in his fictional narra- 
tive. "One is the rebuilding of Rogue 
Squadron," he explains. "The rebels want the 
squadron operational again, and to be some- 
thing of a showpiece. They get the best pilots 
they can and train them for a series of mis- 
sions. Secondly, those missions are the first 
of the Coruscant campaign. At this point in 
time, the Emperor has been dead for a while, 
and planets that were going to switch alle- 
giances have done so. Clearly, the Rebellion 
figures that the next step is to take Coruscant. 
because then there will be many other people 
who will figure that since the Empire is dead, 
they had better come aboard. 

"So, the first book really is about getting 
the characters together, going on their first 
missions and making those first strikes 
aaainst Coruscant. You see the first conflicts 

"In Star Wars, you have all the things that 
people have been putting in stories since 
they started telling stories," Stackpole 

of an interpersonal nature and the first con- 
flicts between Rogue Squadron and the 
Imperials. Of course, the Imperial forces are 
bent on the Rebellion's destruction, and you 
see what they're doing to make sure they 
remain in force. It's good, rollicking fun, full 
of action and camaraderie and humor." 

In the second book. Wedge's Gamble. 
Coruscant falls to the rebels. The third vol- 
ume, The Krytos Trap, deals with mopping- 
up operations and a few other events. The 
fourth book is still being planned. "I'm not 
sure what will happen in it because I haven't 
finished the outline yet," Stackpole states. 
"The working title is The Bacta Rebellion. 
Bacta is that fluid that heals all wounds." 

Among the new rebel characters he 
created for the series are four core members 
of Rogue Squadron: Corran Horn, Tycho 
Celchu, Nawara Ven and Gavin Darklighter. 
"Corran Horn comes from Corellia, like 
Wedge." reveals Stackpole. "Unlike every- 
one else from there who was a smuggler, 
Corran was a member of the Corellian Secu- 
rity Force like his father and his grandfather. 
So, for as long has he has been around, his 
people have hunted smugglers, and he does 
not really like Han Solo. I wanted that as a 
contrast because in Wedge's background, 
there was some smuggling and hauling. Tyco 
Celchu was an Imperial pilot from Alderaan. 
He happened to be talking to his family and 
his fiancee on his birthday via holonet link 
when his transmission cut out. He later found 
out that the planet was blown up by the Death 
Star at that time. 

"Then, there's Nawara Ven, who is a 
Twi'lek like Jabba the Hurt's major domo in 
Return of the Jedi. They have those long 

STARLOG/Mmr/i 7996 47 

brain tails. Nawara was a lawyer who fought 
against the Imperial system before joining 
Rogue Squadron. Gavin Darklighter is 
Biggs' cousin. He decided it was time to 
leave Tatooine and join the Rebellion after 
Biggs died in the first Death Star battle." 

Star warrior 

Wedge's squadron also includes its share 
of droids, a staple of the Star Wars Universe. 
"One of the things I didn't want to do is see a 
repeat of R2-D2 and C-3PO," Stackpole 
comments. "Corran has a droid who has been 
with him since he stole an X-wing from the 
Corellian Security Force and fled from Impe- 
rial agents. The droid is an R2 unit named 
Whistler. Since it was used in law enforce- 
ment, Whistler can do all the things an astro- 
nav droid can do, and also has some code 
slicing capabilities and certain law enforce- 
ment functions that are useful in their 

"The Squadron also has a 3PO unit, 
Emtrey, a military protocol droid. So, in 
addition to knowing thousands of languages, 
it also knows the regulations of millions of 
military units past, present and future. It 
serves as a clerk and sort of a pain in the butt 
in certain other things. Not everybody can be 
C-3PO. because if they were, all 3PO units 
would be deactivated." 

Outside the squadron, there are more new 
characters, both Imperial and neutral. "I was 
allowed to create the person who's essential- 
ly ruling Coruscant since the Emperor's 
death — the head of Imperial Intelligence, 
Ysanne Isard, daughter of the Emperor's old 
Imperial Intelligence director. She betrayed 
her father to the Emperor and took his place. 
She's running the show now. Then, there's 
Mirax Terrik of Corellia, whose father. 
Booster Terrik, was a smuggler sent to Kessel 
by Corran's father. So, there's family ani- 
mosity between the Horns and the Terriks." 

"The comics are prequels to my novels," 
Stackpole states of the 12-issue Star 
Wars: X-Wing series he's plotting for Dark 
Horse Comics. 

Of course. Stackpole is aware that his X- 
Wing stories must fit into the continuity 
established in other Star Wars books, comics 
and games. He admits it can be challenging, 
but he's used to it from having written in 
other shared universes. "Making sure I don't 
do anything that would step on somebody's 
toes is not that hard." he comments. "I've had 
a lot of practice with my Battletech and Dark 
Conspiracy books, as well as the Mutant 
Chronicles novel. Moreover, I just love the 
hell out of having to weave things together to 
make them fit. The universe is a giant jigsaw 
puzzle. I've been given these pieces and I 
have to make them fit in the right places." 

Stackpole feels that part of the success of 
the Star Wars novels and the continued popu- 
larity of the original film trilogy can be 
traced to several elements. "First, you have 
all the mythic archetypes," he explains. "In 
Star Wars, you have all the things that people 
have been putting in stories since they started 
telling stories. The story speaks to all of us, 
and we can understand it instantly and intu- 
itively. Second, you have an appealing uni- 
verse. It has all the flash and dazzle. When 
we're at the movies, we're discovering this 
universe for the first time. We're seeing all 
these aliens and amazing stuff, and it's given 
to us in beautiful, tantalizing glimpses. So, 
you always want more. It's a lived-in uni- 
verse, so it feels comfortable. And there's 
just something about it — the mix of charac- 
ters and such — that's very magical." 

The author is also working on a 1 2-issue 
Star Wars: X-Wing series for Dark Horse 
Comics, providing outlines with story set- 
tings and plots. "The comics are prequels to 
my novels, and are set right after The Truce 
at Bakura. They provide backstories for 
some characters who have been with the 
Rebellion for a long time. You see events that 
will be referred to in the novels. The novels 

48 STAKLOG/Mdrch 1996 

Stackpole was careful to include elements 
in both the novels and the comics that 
Star Wars fans would recognize, but he 
put a fresh spin on well-known events. 

stand on their own, but if you look at the 
comics, you'll understand stuff berter. 

'"Our first four-part story arc deals with 
Rogue Squadron and a little homegrown 
Rebellion group fighting against the local 
Imperial Moff. The second series is set on a 
world that gets described in passing in one of 
Tim Zahn's books. It's a university world, 
and the story involves the Rebels and Imperi- 
als vying for possession of some weapons 
research. They're trying to make sure that the 
other side doesn't get it. The third story arc 
hasn't been approved yet." 

Writing comics is a new experience for 
Stackpole. ''What I do is an outline. Plotting 
really is one of my stronger suits anyway, so 
doing that is pretty natural for me. In the out- 
line, I'll include dialogue and thoughts on 
scenes. Some of my dialogue suggestions get 
used. I had no experience with scripting, and 
Dark Horse quite rightly didn't want me 
doing that. For the first set of four, Mike 
Baron did the scripts. Darko Mackan is writ- 
ing the second set. While the story in the sec- 
ond series is complex, I learned from what I 
had seen Mike do. I was able to provide some 
more of the surrounding story and also leave 
places where Darko could knock himself out. 
A scene in a novel that's dramatic and tense 
between two characters is not going to play 
that well in a comic, whereas a running gun 
battle is incredibly exciting in a comic." 

Universal Author 

Before venturing into the Star Wars Uni- 
verse, Stackpole was best known for his 
years as a game designer and as a frequent 
writer in gaming universes. In fact, his tenth 
Battletech novel, Malicious Intent, will be 
out shortly after his first X-Wing novel. 
"Battletech is really a 31st-century techno- 
thriller. Humanity is spread out among a 
number of local stars, and there are essential- 

ly five star empires vying for supremacy. The 
main engine of warfare are these 10-meter- 
tall robots, just bristling with weaponry, that 
are piloted by people who go out and con- 
quer worlds, and forward their nations' for- 
eign policy from the barrel of a gun. My 
involvement with the Battletech Universe has 
been on the strategic, geopolitical level. My 
books tend to deal with the politics of the 
royal houses and those characters, as well as 
the guys on the frontlines." 

One of Stackpole's earlier Battletech 
trilogies, The Blood of Kerensky, served as 
the inspiration for the animated series and is 
being re-issued. "The events in those books 
form the historical backdrop for the cartoon 
series. There is, in a few episodes, actually a 
character that I created, and there are a few 
scenes out of the novels which have shown 
up in the cartoon. It's really cool." 

Working in these two shared universes, 
plus doing three books based on the Dark 
Conspiracy game and two Magic short sto- 
ries, gives Stackpole a unique perspective to 
respond to criticism of "sharecropper" 
stories. "The thing I like about writing 
in other people's universes is that if it's 
done right and there's the continuity, 
you get this really creative synergy. For 
me, what someone else does spurs me 
on to try to complement it or do some- 
thing that's even cooler. Part of the 
knock about working in a shared uni- 
verse is that people assume someone, 
like Lucasfilm, hands me a 75,000- 
word manuscript and tells me to add 
proper names and adjectives. Well, 
that's not it at all. Working in a shared 
universe is just as much work, if not 
more, than any other. Another assump- 
tion is that writers working in someone 
else's universe are hampered by con- 
straints imposed on them. In fact, all 
writers are hampered by constraints of 
the universe, whatever universe they're 
in. The job really is to say, 'Hey, here 
are some obstacles. How do I work 
around them?' 

"If you screw up and do a lousy job 
on a book in a universe a reader loves, 
he will never read your original stuff. 
Bottom line: If I screw up on a Star 
Wars novel, they're not going to blame 
Bantam or Lucasfilm, they're going to 
blame me." 

In 1994's Once a Hero, Stackpole 
turned to epic heroic fantasy and worked in 
his own universe. "What I was trying to do in 
that book was look at some of the basic 
assumptions in many fantasy novels," he 
remarks. "For instance, elves and humans get 
along all the time. Well, why? Elves live so 
much longer than humans do that it would be 
like our relationship with our pet animals. 
Another question I wanted to examine is 
whether everyone really lives happily ever 
after after good defeats evil. 

"Once a Hero is basically two stories. 
One is of Neal, a human hero, who is fighting 
to overthrow an evil, sorcerous race. During 
his time, elves view humans as cattle with 
opposable thumbs. Well, Neal's best friend is 

an elf, Aarundel, who started more as a mon- 
itor because the elves didn't really want 
things being stirred up. The second story is 
set 500 years later. Genevera, Aarundel's 
granddaughter, is traveling out in the world, 
and you get to see through Gena's eyes the 
direct consequences of what Neal did and 
how his actions changed the world." 

After Stackpole finishes the four X-Wing 
novels, he plans to complete another solo 
novel, Eyes of Silver. "The easiest way to 
describe it is an epic fantasy techno-thriller 
set on a distantly alternate Earth with mon- 
strous flying ships, steam cannons and 
empires in conflict. It has elements of 
Horatio Hornblower and grand crusade-type 

"Forever After came out in December. It 
was put together by the late Roger Zelazny, 
so it was a big honor to be asked to partic- 
ipate. It's the fourth book in every generic 
fantasy trilogy. In the trilogy, everyone goes 
out to gather magic items and bring them to 
one place to banish the bad guy, and in this 

"In the back of the mind of anyone who 
has ever seen Star Wars, there's this 
question of, 'I wonder what the other 
rebels are doing,' " offers Stackpole. 

book the good guys discover that when you 
get those items in one place, it begins to rip 
apart the fabric of reality. So, the characters 
are taking these magic items they got at great 
risk and peril and hiding them away again." 

For Michael A. Stackpole, the invitation 
to be part of a modern American legend. Star 
Wars, is "mind-boggling. I'm happy as hell 
to be involved with it. I remember when I 
first saw the films. It's a wonderful universe 
and to now, 19 years later, be able to give 
something back is just a great thrill." 


STARLOG/Ma/r/; 7996 49 


Mission Archive 


Jenyte ' • I ■ ■■ I iul Con imitte 






Main Document File 


Hiilllffll 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 i i 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

A comprehensive examination of the planetary exploits of 
Christopher Draper, better known as Robinson Crusoe on Mars. 


Sir: This Report is in response to a 
request for a summary on which to 
base future policy decisions. It has 
also been prompted by the decision of the 
Senate Select Sub-Committee on Non-Ter- 
restrial Intelligence to allow public release 
of the actual details concerning the Mars 
Gravity Probe mission. The National Geo- 
graphic Society and Paramount Pictures 
have already announced plans to produce 
films dealing with the heroic 11 -month 
ordeal of Commander Christopher Draper 
upon the Martian surface. Paramount has 
taken the lead with its announcement of a 
dramatization using the name Robinson 
Crusoe on Mars. 

It is evident that the truth is becoming 
difficult to conceal. We wish to inform you 
that a majority opinion has been reached 
stating that, given the evidence of a potential 
threat to our world, it is vital that the full 
details be released. 

The situation began when the planet 
Mars underwent a period of unprecedented 
geological activity, highlighted by the erup- 
tion of the volcano Ceraunius Tholus. 

At that point in time, there were several 
unmanned probes operating around Mars, 

tary Correspondent, reviewed the world's 
end in issue #219. 

including the American Pathfinder Rover 
and Mars Prospector satellite, the Russian 
Rover and the joint French/American 
Orbiter-Balloon. All reported planet-wide 
incidents of intense geological activity. Sev- 
eral planetary geologists theorized that 
quakes and effusive lava flows were possi- 
bly underway in the deeper rift valleys, or 
even below the surface of Mars. 

Data sent back from the probes indicated 
that drastic climactic changes were taking 
place as a result of the activity. The mean 
surface temperature of Mars was gradually 
rising from -23° C to -2° C. The atmospher- 
ic pressure was also increasing, from eight 
millibars to 615 millibars. 

It was decided to increase observations 
of Mars, and the Hubble Astronomical Con- 
stellation was programmed to place the 
planet under intense scrutiny. This necessity 
became even greater after contact with both 
the French/American Orbiter-Balloon and 
the Russian Rover was lost. At the time, it 
was reported that both probes had been 
functioning normally. No explanation was 
available for their joint failure. 

Then. Hubble- 1 and Hubble-3 both 
picked up evidence of what was first thought 

to be an asteroid entering Martian orbit. Fur- 
ther study of its flight behavior, however, 
soon led observers to conclude that they 
were seeing a large spacecraft. 

It was initially felt that this spacecraft 
had been launched by another country. That 
was disproved. The next possibility was 
studied: that the spacecraft was of extrater- 
restrial origin. Its purpose was unknown, but 
instruments on board the Mars Prospector 
satellite indicated a high degree of charged 
particle activity. These observations were 
soon followed by a loss of contact with the 
Mars Prospector. 

After considerable debate, the conclu- 
sion was reached that the spacecraft had 
somehow detected and disabled the satellite. 
Debate continued on the issue, with several 
scientists declaring that it was hasty to 
assign hostile intent without concrete evi- 
dence. Nevertheless, it was decided to take 
as many precautions as possible. The one 
remaining American probe on Mars, the 
Pathfinder Rover, was instructed to abandon 
its explorations and seek the shelter of the 
northern polar ice cap. 

Mission Objectives 

While the debates continued, work pro- 
ceeded on a plan to gain detailed informa- 
tion regarding the aliens. The next 
scheduled American mission was the Mars 

50 STARLOG/Majr/! 1996 

Gravity Probe. Following an Executive 
Order, the Probe fell under the clandestine 
supervision of the Department of Defense. 
While its original scientific goals remained 
the same, new priorities were added. The 
Probe's primary function now was to serve as 
a military reconnaissance unit. 

The biggest alteration in the mission pro- 
file was the change from an unmanned oper- 
ation to providing for two astronauts to 
accompany the Probe to Mars. One would 
handle the scientific duties. For this, it was 
decided that the best choice would be United 
States Navy Commander Christopher Drap- 
er: pilot for the Selena I mission to the Moon 
and co-author of the paper ""Low Thrust 
Solutions to Anomalous Mascon Effects 
Upon Spacecraft Behavior." 

The mission commander would be the 
individual charged with examination of the 
Martian surface for signs of alien activity. 
United States Marine Corps Colonel Daniel 
McReady was chosen for this role. The hero 
of the near disastrous Polaris crash-landing, 
Colonel McReady enjoyed a reputation for 
courage and ingenuity, and it was felt that his 
competence was best suited for the job. 

Early on, the decision was made that 
Colonel McReady would be familiar with the 
mission's true purpose, while Commander 
Draper would remain uninformed. This deci- 
sion was debated but, during this time, secu- 
rity was still a major factor in all decisions. 
Whereas McReady was easily isolated for 
the initial training. Draper was involved in 
the simulator development project for the 
European Space Agency and couldn't be iso- 
lated until much later. 

McReady was informed that, during the 
mission's course, he could reveal the Probe's 
true purpose to Commander Draper. It was 

McReady's decision to withhold the 
information until he could confirm the 
alien presence on Mars. In retrospect, it 
must be considered whether or not that deci 
sion was prudent. 

vehicular Details 

The Probe itself underwent numerous 
changes. It was hoped that a launch could 
be made 14 months following the initial 
sighting of the aliens on Mars. Achieving 
this required imagination and a small 
amount of larceny. 

The Probe's scientific instrumentation, 
weighing some 5,600 pounds, was trans- 
ferred to the Ballistic Missile Defense Orga- 
nization, which mated it to the body of a 
X-41 "third-generation" cargo orbiter 
(named Elinor M by McReady). The Probe's 
weight now jumped to 109.000 pounds. 

It was decided that, excluding consum- 
ables, living quarters for each astronaut 
could not exceed 3043 pounds. The astro- 
nauts would be flying a "no frills" mission. 
Food, accommodations, support systems — 
everything would be slashed back to levels 
resembling those of the Mercury/Vostok 
, flights. 

No such system was available in the 
American space inventory. There was, how- 
ever, a working alternative in the form of 
three Russian Angyel escape pods undergo- 
ing static testing by NASA as possible addi- 
tions to the space station program. Two of the 
pods were quietly removed from the Ames 
Research Center and retrofitted to Elinor M. 
The entire spacecraft now weighed 115,022 

The lack of time with which to develop 
modifications resulted in primitive systems, 
includina analos indicators and an electro- 

NASA Animation 


mechanical computer. 
In its defense, since the Elinor M would be 
flying a faster trajectory than what has been 
considered for manned Mars missions, the 
older yet ""hardened" onboard systems would 
better survive the rigors of the voyage. 

Meanwhile, preparations were made for a 
"support fleet" in the event that the aliens 
were located at Mars. The Earth Satellite 
space station, under construction in orbit, 
was fitted with engines and fuel tanks which 
would turn the station into a spacecraft capa- 

ble of carrying a crew of 28. If 

Colonel McReady located the 
aliens on Mars, Earth Satellite 
would be launched, to arrive 
1 1 months later. 

Also under construction 
were three high-speed ships 
similar to the Elinor M, but 
larger and reflecting more 
current developments. These 
would be launched ahead of 
Earth Satellite and arrive 
three months earlier, provid- 
ing escort, support and protec- 

On August 1. 2016, Elinor 
M was launched from Van- 
denburg Air Force Base, 
entering a trajectory which 
would place it in Martian 
orbit 229 days later. No 
mishaps occurred and both 
astronauts reported only 
minor difficulties in adjusting 
to the primitive conditions of 
their vehicle. 

STARLOG/Ma ;r/j 1996 51 









M/M 7 V 

Arrival in Martian orbit occurred on 
March 17, 2017. According to the mission 
profile, the ship was to remain for 26 days, 
ostensibly studying gravitational fields. Dur- 
ing this time, Colonel McReady would per- 
form his own reconnaissance of the Martian 
surface for evidence of the aliens, relaying 
any findings he made to the task force wait- 
ing on Earth Satellite. 

Unfortunately, the first of several disas- 
ters soon occurred. Elinor M had completed 
its third orbit when it found itself on a colli- 

sion course with an asteroid. Experts from 
the Naval Observatory later testified that it 
had been known that asteroid 414-Jayapura 
followed an eccentric path which occasional- 
ly took it near Mars. There had been no indi- 
cation, however, that the asteroid would be 
captured by Mars' gravity, so the mission 
planning crew was not alerted. Jayapura also 
had a low albedo and was not easily visible to 
Earth-based observers. The only instruments 
capable of accurately tracking the asteroid — 
the telescopes of the Hubble Astronomical 
Constellation — were busy searching for alien 
activity. Ironically, the emphasis on watching 
for unnatural threats to Elinor M meant that 
there was no watch for natural ones. 

Regardless of the blame, the damage had 
been done. In taking steps to avoid a colli- 
sion, the Elinor M_ expended most of its fuel 
and became trapped in a lower orbit. Colonel 
McReady. anticipating the arrival of Earth 
Satellite and its support fleet, decided that 
survival would be easier on the Martian sur- 
face and ordered Draper to eject. Draper did. 
and was followed by McReady moments 

As it turned out, Draper could not have 
possibly come down in a worse spot. His pod 
landed within the canyons of the Nili Fossae, 
an area not only prone to effusive lava flows, 
but also one of the areas where the alien 
spacecraft had been spotted. 

Unfortunately, the tragedy didn't end 
there. Although it would be another 
48 hours before Commander Drap- 
er learned this. Colonel McReady 
did not survive his landing. From 
Draper's debriefing, it has been 
determined that McReady's pod 
suffered total engine failure prior to 
touching down and crash-landed. 
Aggravating the damage was the 
fact that the pod had landed in an 
area often visited by firestorms 
(McReady had termed that section 
of Mars, in general, a 
fire swamp"). 

SlAKLOGIMarch 1996 

Draper located McReady's body 
and buried him near the wreckage. 

Meanwhile, with contact from Eli- 
nor M lost, preparations for launching 
Earth Satellite and the three escort 
ships were immediately speeded up, 
with the escort ships, now named the 
"Space Rescue Group." leaving Earth 
in late May. 

To say that Commander Draper's 
stay on the Martian surface added to 
the knowledge of that planet would be 
committing a gross understatement. 
Less than 24 hours after burying 
Colonel McReady. Draper made the 
find that, perhaps more than any other, 
extended his life: the "Martian air- 
stone" which produced breathable 
oxygen when heated. Draper's luck 
continued and, 16 days after landing 
on Mars, he located a source of 
potable water, as well as encountering 
the edible Martian "cucumber 

It is not the intention of this Report, 
however, to paint Draper's stay on Mars as an 
idyllic experience. By his own account, 
despite the company of a test animal that sur- 
vived the crash of Colonel McReady's pod (a 
woolly monkey). Commander Draper suf- 
fered extreme mental stress from the isola- 
tion he faced. In the time before he 
discovered the airstone, Draper experienced 
periods of hypoxia. Also, the "cucumber 
sausage" contained anticholinergic agents 
which brought about hallucinations, as well 
as producing an anxiety state. 

Humanoid Companions 

The next milestone occurred 126 days 
after Draper's landing, when he discovered a 
humanoid corpse buried near his encamp- 

In his debriefing. Draper stated that 
Colonel McReady had not told him about the 
aliens. Nonetheless, Draper realized the seri- 
ousness of the situation. He immediately hid 
all evidence of his presence and ordered the 
still-orbiting Elinor M to self-destruct. 

Three weeks later, an alien spacecraft 
landed near Draper's camp. Investigating on 
his own, Draper took video footage of the 
landing site. From this, we have determined 
that the aliens are roughly humanoid. 
although their forms are hidden by what 
appear to be bulky space suits. From their 
ship they control a fleet of drones which were 
the source of the charged particle beams that 
the Mars Prospector had detected. The aliens 
also made great use of slave labor, and it was 
one of these slaves who fell into Draper's 
hands and became known as the celebrated 
"Friday," today called by his actual name of 

You have seen the report on Tlola- 
Zhochatl as supplied by the Teague 
Astromedical Research Institute. His lan- 
guage and customs have been studied by 
anthropologists and linguists, some of whom 
have noted a definite link between Tlola- 
Zhochatl's language and the Nahuatlan lan- 
guage spoken by the Aztec people. Research 






Threat Assessment 




he Enemy" 


is underway about a possible connection 
between Tlola-Zhochatl's race and the 
Aztecs and Toltecs, with emphasis on study- 
ing legends concerning visitations by "gods." 

Tlola-Zhochatl has cooperated with 
investigators, especially in delivering infor- 
mation concerning the aliens he refers to as 
"The Enemy." Known as Tsaa-Ayafosi, these 
aliens are of a different race than Tlola- 
Zhochatl's. From studying detailed charts, 
Tlola-Zhochatl was able to confirm what he 
had told Draper: that both he and the Tsaa- 
Ayafosi come from a planet called Osot-Ten- 
ango, which circles the star Alnilam (Epsilon 
Orionis). Alnilam is 1,600 light years from 
Earth and, according to Tlola-Zhochatl, the 
Tsaa-Ayafosi ships are able to travel to our 
solar system in a matter of months. 

In questioning both Tlola-Zhochatl and 
Draper, as well as studying Draper's video 
record, some additional mysteries have 
arisen concerning the Tsaa-Ayafosi's pres- 
ence on Mars. The "mining encampment" 
featured stone ruins which seemed far older 


f filevii 

I Mona 

and more complex than the 
sort of structures one 
would expect for a tempo- 
rary mining expedition. 
Archaeologists have point- 
ed out that the ruins seem to 
be at least decades, or maybe 
centuries old. 

Tlola-Zhochatl could not shed any light 
on what the Tsaa-Ayafosi were mining for. 
He had been on his first visit to Mars (or Que 
Que-Tenango, to use his term), and had not 
given much thought to the ruins. It seemed to 
him that the Tsaa-Ayafosi were more inter- 
ested in burying the landscape under rock, 
and physically collecting particular items, 
than accomplishing any actual mining. 

A theory has since been provided by the 
anthropologists studying Tlola-Zhochatl. 
They propose that the ruins on Mars were the 
remains of an ancient city which was, per- 
haps, the home of beings of the same race as 
Tlola-Zhochatl. These people might have 
been removed from Earth centuries ago by 
the Tsaa-Ayafosi, genetically modified, and 
set up in slave compounds upon Mars in 
order to carry out some sort of project. With 
the project long since completed, however, 
and with Earth developing its own space 
capability, the decision was made to system- 
atically eliminate all evidence of the Tsaa- 
Ayafosi's presence, as well as the presence of 
Tlola-Zhochatl's people. 

Such a theory would explain how Tlola- 
Zhochatl's people were able to survive the 
Martian environment aided only by their "air 
pills." It would also explain why the Tsaa- 
Ayafosi were so anxious to hunt down Tlola- 
Zhochatl. Despite their technological 
advances, it's possible that they could be 
reluctant to confront us either militarily or 

Rescue Attempts 

Draper and Tlola-Zhochatl escaped by 
traveling along underground channels in the 
Nilosyrtis Mensae and Protonilus Mensae. 
Draper's idea was to reach the northern polar 
ice cap and locate the Pathfinder Rover. He 
was tracking its signal and hoped to some- 
how use it to contact Earth. Another priority 
was water — the Tsaa-Ayafosi having driven 
them from the source they had been using. 

It took 143 days to reach the polar ice cap, 
where Draper's propensity for finding trou- 
ble served him once again. Jayapura, having 
fallen into a gradually descending orbit 
around Mars, struck the ice cap, producing a 
blast on the order of 74 megatons which 
melted away a large portion of the ice. 

Ironically, the blast also contributed to 
Draper's rescue. The Space Rescue Group 
had arrived at Mars, observed the meteor 
strike and contacted Earth Satellite with the 
information. Draper's equipment detected 
the Group, and Draper immediately made 
contact. One of the ships dropped a fully 
equipped two-man escape pod (anticipating 
both Draper and McReady) and set up 
arrangements for a recovery three days later. 
The Group then rendezvoused with Earth 
Satellite and. considering the importance of 





Tlola-Zhochatl. the decision was 
made for the fleet to return to Earth 

The fleet arrived at Space Station Delta 
on December 17, 2018. Commander Draper. 
Tlola-Zhochatl and the monkey which had 
accompanied Elinor M to Mars were trans- 
ferred to the Teague Astromedical Research 
Institute in Texas for debriefing and medical 
examination. Tlola-Zhochatl has readily 
accepted life on Earth and has been more 
than agreeable towards assisting scientific 
experts in their studies concerning him and 
his people. 

Commander Draper has been classified as 
fit for active duty. He has been informed of 
the decision to promote him to the rank of 
Captain, as well as present him with the 
Navy's Distinguished Service Medal. He has 
asked for permission to remain in Texas and 
help Tlola-Zhochatl adjust to life on Earth. 

As for the situation concerning the Tsaa- 
Ayafosi, there is every reason to believe that 
they will return to Mars. Not only that, but 
the possibility cannot be denied that they 
could either direct their actions against Earth, 
or possibly threaten future Martian expedi- 

Recommendation: that the President, the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Congress autho- 
rize the development and placement of pro- 
tected monitoring stations on the Martian 
moons of Phobos and Deimos. That a large- 
scale expedition to Mars be undertaken at the 
earliest possible convenience, and that provi- 
sions be made for possible contact with the 
Tsaa-Ayafosi. either diplomatically or, if the 
worst should come to pass, militarily, m 






Today it's a cult film, but back in 1964. 
actor Victor Lundin developed a case of 
amnesia when it came to the title of his 
film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars. It embar- 
rassed him. "You had to overcome that title." 
he admits. "A more appropriate name would 
have been Stranded on Mars. When people 
walked by the set, they would ask, 'What pic- 
ture is this?' I would reply. 'Gee, I dunno. I 
can't remember. It takes place on Mars. It's a 
take-off on a Daniel Defoe novel,' and that's 
how I would leave it." 

MARK PHILLIPS, veteran STARLOG corre- 
spondent, examined Lost in Space in STAR- 
LOG #219-#220. 

54 STARLOG/Mff/r/i 1996 

Although the Paramount release did mod- 
est box office, critics were kind in their 
appraisal. "A pleasant surprise," observed 
The New York Times. "Vic Lundin makes an 
appropriate alien Friday, with his quiet 
human characteristics." Over the years, the 
film has become a perennial fan favorite on 
cable's TBS and TNT networks. 

The SF adventure starred Paul Mantee as 
Christopher Draper, an astronaut who crash- 
lands on Mars and struggles against its 
unyieldingly hostile environment. Be- 
friended by an alien slave from Orion 
(Lundin), the two overcome their language 
barrier and work together to survive. The 
upbeat conclusion has the pair (along with 

Draper's pet monkey, Mona) rescued by an 
Earth ship. 

Lundin was cast as the gentle but slightly 
menacing-looking Friday by director Byron 
{The War of the Worlds) Haskin. However, the 
actor was disappointed in the way that Friday 
was originally written. "lb Melchior wrote a 
nice script, but there was a limitation to my 
character." explains Lundin. "The dialogue 
between Paul Mantee and me was awkward. 
So, Paul and I worked together to rewrite the 
scenes. Screenwriter Lewis John Carlino 
joined us and we added the Mayan language 
scenes. This allowed our characters to com- 
municate more freely between themselves in 
the film. The scenes between Paul and me still 


play very well. They turned out much more 
realistically than originally written." 

He enjoyed working with Mantee. 
describing him as a believable choice as 
Draper. "Paul was cast because he was a 
strong, rugged individual. They didn't want a 
pretty-boy type, and Paul was something of 
an anti-hero. He was a good actor and a very 
serious guy. We got along fine." 

Also in the cast was the wide-eyed 
monkey Mona, the only other survivor of 
Draper's doomed flight. "She was actually 
a he," reveals Lundin. "His name was Bar- 
ney. He wore a fur G-sting to hide his pri- 
vate parts. Male monkeys are notorious 
players with their instruments, and we're 

not talking the guitar. I often held his hand 
to distract him. 

"One day. a group of very prim and prop- 
er schoolteachers from the Midwest visited 
the set. One of them was so damned stiff. I 
thought she was gonna trip over her own 
aura. I finally couldn't take it anymore. I let 
Barney go and his body began shaking. He 
started doing his number right in front of her. 
while she was desperately trying to avert her 
eyes and pretend to ignore it. Meanwhile, I 
was breaking up with laughter. It was pretty 

Sadly, it was Barney's last film appear- 
ance. "He passed away right after the picture. 
Those kinds of monkeys — the woolly mon- 
keys — are very susceptible to pneumonia." 

Alien companion 

Location lensing for Robinson Crusoe 
was done in the Death Valley desert, giving 
the film an authentically eerie look. "The 
volcano Paul and I come out of was real," 
says Lundin. "It's still smoking today. To 
enhance the effects, production guys rolled 
big tires down the slopes, where they were 
burned to produce gaseous emissions. Prob- 
lem was. when they rolled the tires, they 
nearly squashed people below. One missed 
our cameraman by an inch. It could have 
killed him. Another almost hit Byron Haskin. 
Everyone was scattering for their lives!" 

Several scenes were filmed early in the 
morning, and Lundin found the Death Valley 
location bitterly cold. "It was the dead of 
winter and the chill factor was 20 below. In 
the scene where I'm covered with meteoric 

"The only thing that 

kept me alive was a 

bottle of Hennessy 

and a couple of 


ash, they covered me with honey and fake 
ashes. The only thing that kept me alive was 
a bottle of Hennessy and a couple of blan- 
kets. I had to act warm, but I was freezing. I 
was also buzzing from the Hennessy." His 
most physically taxing scene was on an inte- 
rior set, where Friday saves the unconscious 
astronaut from a flood. "I had to pull Paul up 
this flight of stairs, and he weighed over 200 
pounds. Fortunately. I had been lifting 
weights at the time and we devised a system 
where Paul locked his thumbs into my belt 
and pulled down, giving me the leverage to 
carry him. I told the crew, "Fellas, don't pull 
a Cecil B. DeMille on me. This is gonna be 
one take, because he's a load!' I climbed up 
the stairs pulling Paul and nearly had a her- 
nia. When I reached the top, everyone ap- 

The actor feels crucial production cut- 
backs weakened the film's exciting conclu- 
sion. " The movie has some great scenes in it. 
The crashing meteor, for instance, was terrif- 
ic. Byron Haskin devised some fantastic spe- 
cial FX. But there were several scenes 

Robinson Crusoe's Death Valley shooting 
locations were bitterly cold and difficult 
to work in. 

written and not filmed that would have been 
spectacular. We were going to show the inte- 
rior of the volcano where great pyrotechnics 
go off as Paul saves my life. There were also 
more scenes of the meteor crashing and 
exploding. Although the sets were built and 
the special FX were planned, they weren't 
filmed. The ending was modified and dimin- 
ished and the film races to its conclusion. 
Had those extra 15 minutes been shot, we 
would have had a much more spectacular and 
memorable film. 

"What happened was the film's producer. 
Aubrey Schenck, lost interest midway 
through production." Lundin explains. "He 
was a very strange and distant man, and he 
just wrote the picture off." 

Lundin also believes that Robinson Cru- 
soe didn't receive the necessary promotion. 
"That was limited to Paul and the monkey 
going on tour. I offered to pay my own way to 
join them, including the cost of my plane 
ticket, and Schenck wouldn't even pay for 
my hotel room. When you hear that a film 
nowadays costs $25 million, you have to 
spend another S10 million just to promote it 
or else it will sink. That was true of Robinson 
Crusoe on Mars 30 years ago. Aside from 
Paul going out on a little tour, there was very 
little promotion, and as a result, the film 

The movie found popularity on TV years 
later, usually on weekends, where its specta- 
cle and family-friendly story left young audi- 
ences spellbound. "I have three children and 
they've had a lot of fun over the fact that I 
played Friday." laughs the actor. "My 
youngest son, Zack, went to a birthday party 
when he was seven and all the kids were 
watching Robinson Crusoe on Mars. When 
Zack pointed to the TV and said, "That's my 
Dad! ' the other kids' reaction was. 'Oh, come 
on!' I still get occasional letters about the 

STARLOG/Mmr/i 1996 55 

film, many of them concerning my black 
wig. Someone asked if I was related to Paul 
McCartney. I replied, 'No, I just wanted " 
carry on the Beatles tradition.' " 

Lundin has seen Enemy Mine, the IS 
film whose storyline is similar to Robins^ 
Crusoe. "Lou Gossett played the alien in that. 
I didn't think the characters really worked. 
I'm just glad I wasn't playing Gossett's char- 
acter and had to have that big alien baby!" 

Indian Heavy 

His love of acting grew out orwhat 
calls "a very strange upbringing. My father 
was in the Chicago mob. He was always out 
somewhere with 'The Boys.' doing what 
they were doing, but he would give me hand- 
fuls of money to go see the movies. My 
brother had died in the war, my sister was 
gone and this was my escape from an unhap- 
pvyhildhood. I would fantasize about being 
up there on the screen, knowing that one day 
I would be an actor. To keep me from run- 
ning away to the movies, my mother, who 
was great and wanted to keep me out of trou- 
ble, would tie me to a rope. All that did was 
make me an expert at untying knots! I later 
acted in plays, building my resume and talk- 
ing my way into theater roles." 

Lunddfe first TV role was in Clint Walk- 
er's Western series Cheyenne at Warner 
Bros. "I auditioned for producer Art Silver." 
recalls Lundin. "I did this part from Shake- 
speare and Art looked at me very seriously, 
I smokina his big cigar, and he finally "said. 

said, 'Like the wind!' AcUially, 
very good, but the cowboys lat 
j me and I became an expert trick 
Warner Bros, cast him in d 
Westerns. "I played a lot of Indij 
episodes of Wagon Train. Mave, 
Mackenzie's Raiders. T 
stunts in the pilot of T 
Vlhat was one of my best roles, a 
.tin heavy." 

His most notable pre-Robins 

:-'ers Killer Brood (1960), in whicl 
prayed Machine Gun Kelly. His I; 
credits included The Man From U.N. 
("The Fiery Angel Affair"). In 1964, L 
developed a TV series idea with screenwi 
lb Melchior. "It was called Columbus of In 
« based on the premise that Earth wa_ 
ninent danger of being destroyed by 
rorite. They had to transport th 
to other planets to start coloniza- 
n. We set it in the far future and antici- 
ed some hi-tech special FX. We even 
1 an artist do conceptual paintings of 
■ spaceship." 

rhe project didn't sell, but soon after- 

-undin appeared on Star Trek. In 

>f Mercy," Lundin is lieutenant to 

ithless Kor (John Colicos) and is dis- 

.hed by Mr. Spock's Vulcan nerve pinch. 

"That was a bone, thrown to me by Para- 
mount," Lundin says. "It was a very small 
role as a Klingon and I didn't want to do it. 
Casting director Joe D'Agosta asked me to 
do it for him as a favor, so 1 did." 

Lundin claims that he was a serious con- 
tender for the Spock role early on. "Para- 
mount called me in when they were casting 
Star Trek and they set up the pretense that the 
Spock role was between me, Leonard Nimoy 
and another actor as a distant third. Byron 
Haskin had been brought in to work on Star 
Trek and he tried to get me cast as Spock. but 
there was a bond between producer Gene 
Roddenberry and Nimoy that couldn't be 

Better roles followed on Batman, where 
Lundin was henchman to Burgess Meredith's 
Penguin. "I played Octopus, wearing a skin 
cap and waving my arms around like an octo- 
pus. It was a ridiculous role, but it was fun. 
Burgess was not an easy guy to work with. 
He was always complaining to the director. 
Tommy Gries, that I was stepping on his 
lines. But he was just very' slow to deliver." 

Lundin enjoyed his second Batman much 
more, as assistant to that villainous cowboy 
Shame. "That was with Cliff Robertson, his 
then-wife Dina Merrill and a famous English 
actress. Hermione Baddeley. I played an 
Indian chief with a tall headdress. On the first 
day, my headdress accidentally got stuck in 

"The Spock role was 

between me, Leonard 

Nimoy and another 


the doorway and as I struggled to get through 
the door, somebody mistakenly shut the door 
on me. It turned out to be a happy accident. 
The producers liked it so much that it became 
a running gag." 

He was reunited with Batman star Adam 
West, who played a small role as a doomed 
astronaut in Robinson Crusoe on Mars. 
"Adam and I didn't have any scenes in that 
movie, but we had gotten together on the set 
and spun stories. He's a great guy and had a 
lot of fun playing Batman. However. Burt 
Ward [Robin] had let the show go to his head 
and was difficult to talk to." 

His biggest TV genre appearances were 
for producer Irwin Allen. On The Time Tun- 
nel, Lundin was a hostile native who threat- 
ened guest stars Torin Thatcher and future 
Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn. as well 
as the time travelers (James Darren. Robert 
Colbert) before plunging into a raging vol- 
cano in "The Crack of Doom." 

"I remember having an argument early on 
with the wardrobe people," he recalls. "They 
wanted me to wear this ridiculous jungle 
skirt." With that resolved, Lundin decided to 
bow out of a fight scene with James Darren. 
"Jimmy's a good guy, but he's not terribly 
coordinated. He couldn't pull a punch. After 
discussing our fighting techniques, I told 
him, 'Jimmy, you're more comfortable with 
really swinging and hitting, so I think I'll use 

a stunt double.' Well, Jimmy ended up break- 
ing the stuntman's nose. He splattered it all 
over the set. That could have been me. I had 
just had my nose broken and fixed from 
another show." 

Allen also did some uncredited directing 
in the episode. "Bill Hale, a real nice young 
guy, was an actors' director, but apparently 
he was taking too much time. Irwin came 
down and reamed Bill out in front of every- 
one. He almost kicked him off the set. Irwin 
took over the directing. Irwin could be a very 
petulant guy and if you crossed him, that was 
it. He had an explosive temper." 

Lundin also sailed more than once on 
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In "The 
Menfish," he co-starred as Hansjurg, a lab 
technician forced to create giant sea mon- 
sters. "Originally. Hansjurg was written as a 
very Gestapo-type guy. They were going to 
cast a well-known German actor — I don't 
recall his name — for the role. But Joe 
D'Agosta brought me in to see if Irwin would 
go for someone offbeat. I gave a good read- 
ing and won the part. To bring some pathos to 
the character, I brainstormed with two actor 
friends in the studio cafeteria. One of them 
was Michael Constantine [later known as 
.Room 222 's principal]. We tried to come up 
with something that would make Hansjurg 
different. We thought he should show the 
effects of some kind of trauma. Suddenly, all 
three of us just yelled, 'Neckbrace!' Every- 
one around us must have though 
we were nuts. That's why my char- 
acter ended up with a neckbrace." 

Controlled by a crazed scientist 
(John Dehner). Hansjurg becomes 
a hero by turning on his evil mas- 
ter and saving the submarine. 
"John was great as the heavy," 
marvels Lundin. "He was a hell of 
a fine actor. When I strangled his 
character, I told him, 'John, Han- 
sjurg is going to start crying. No 
matter what I do once I get you 
down, let me run with it.' There 
was a 10-second close-up of me 
with tears in my eyes as I kill the 
man who was my father figure. It 
was a great scene and my friend, 
director Tommy Gries, loved it. 
Well, when Irwin saw the rushes. 
he couldn't take the tension. He 
screamed at Tommy. 'What the 
hell do you think we're doing 
here? Playhouse 90?!' It was cut 
down to two seconds. Irwin was 
not a director who was sensitive to 
actors. He went for the special FX. 
He seldom let actors perform." 

Nevertheless, Lundin says, " 'The Men- 
fish' was my best Voyage, but nobody ever 
mentions that episode." 

Lobster Man 

The same can't be said for his next Voy- 
age, "Lobster Man." As the title monster, 
Lundin was encased in a giant, ambulatory 
lobster costume. The arrogant creature 
threatens to destroy humanity with a dooms- 
dav bomb. "Even the monkevs won't be 

After his acting career faded out, Lundin 
taught, wrote a children's film and began 
composing country music. 

Check that physique on Lundin. He was 
lifting weights, and good thing too, as he 
was required to tote the equally brawny 
Mantee up a flight of stairs. 

around to start over again!" snarls the crafty 

"That has become a cult show." exclaims 
Lundin. "People said Irwin connived me into 
that role and that may be true. I don't think 
anyone else would have done it unless they 
were really hungry. I worked myself to the 
bone as the Lobster Man." 

STARLOG/Ma/r/7 1996 57 

"Paul was cast because he was a strong, rugged individual," notes Lundin of co-star 
Mantee, who played astronaut Christopher Draper. 

Lundin got the casting call direct from 
Allen. "We were good friends and he asked. 
'Vic, can you do an English accent?' I said, 
'On my word!' I passed muster by doing a 
Richard Burton-like accent for the director. 
Forget the lobster suit-it was a damn good 
part for television. But they didn't tell me the 
extent of the costume. I was sitting in my 
makeup chair at 6 a.m., kind of groggy and 
sipping coffee, when this huge object was put 
over my head. A second later, two eye slits 
were cut away and I saw this huge lobster 
head! They put me in a wetsuit with scales on 
it, and marched me over to see Irwin. I said to 
him, through the mask, 'Irwin, if I'm sup- 
posed to be lobsteroid, how will my lobster 
mother recognize me with all this parapher- 
nalia covering my face?' They agreed to cut 
some of the mask off so I could deliver my 
dialogue. Irwin liked the idea of an English- 
sounding lobster. He felt it provided Lobster 
Man with character. But if you overdo it, it 
becomes burlesque. I did just enough of an 
accent to keep Irwin happy." 

Despite the wild premise of a cantanker- 
ous lobster, Lundin feels the only drawback 
was the suit. "The dialogue was fine and the 
scenes were well-written, but the costume 
turned it into something of a spoof. The terri- 
ble thing was that I couldn't take the suit off 
between takes — it was so hot under those 
lights. I lost a bucket of water a day. They had 
holes in the costume to drain the sweat out. It 

was a very hard show to do." 

The actor found little sympathy from Voy- 
age star Richard Basehart. "Basehart, who 
was a great actor, treated me very badly," 
claims Lundin. "By that time he was doing 
the series strictly for the money and he was 
very difficult to work with. He hated the 
monsters and was rude to the actors who 
played them. One day I was near him when a 
photographer snapped a picture of us. Base- 
hart went absolutely crazy! He was furious 

"Irwin [Allen] liked the 
idea of an English- 
sounding lobster. He 
felt it provided 
Lobster Man with 

about having been photographed with a talk- 
ing lobster and he screamed at me and the 
photographer. From then on, I stayed away 
from him and just did my job." 

Lundin's business relationship with Allen 
also deteriorated when the actor, having 
branched off into writing features for MGM- 
Four Star, didn't return the producer's cast- 
ing calls. 

"Irwin had a clique, which I was fortunate 
to have been a part of. But when I got into 

writing, I didn't follow up on his casting 
interviews. In his City Beneath the Sea 
[1971], there was an amphibian character 
written for me. I didn't show up for the inter- 
view and my friend, Burr DeBenning. got the 
part. I also didn't show up for a Poseidon 
Adventure interview, and that really pissed 
Irwin off. He called me up after the movie 
was released. 'Well, you could have been in 
The Poseidon Adventure, Vic. I had the Greek 
ship owner cast for you, but you didn't want 
it. So we got somebody else.' It wasn't a big 
part, but it was a big film with big stars, and 
it was my loss. He also had a role for me in 
The Towering Inferno. He called me then. 
too. 'Well. Vic, it's happened again. That was 
your part. It was here waiting for you. See 
what happens when you don't cooperate?" " 

In the early 1 970s, Lundin appeared in an 
episode of Mannix, two low-budget motion 
pictures and a cable TV show where he 
played a gambler. "That was about the time I 
got out of acting and lost my contacts," he 

As Lundin explains, life threw him some 
curve balls and he was fortunate to have writ- 
ing skills to fall back on at the crossroads. 
"My life changed after my wife left me with 
three kids. I was offered a lot of pictures that 
meant going out on location, and you can't 
do that with three kids to raise. Writing was 
something I could do and still be with them. I 
also went back to school and got my Masters 
in Communication, did some teaching, wrote 
a children's film called Super Seal at Sea 
World, starring Sterling Holloway. and wrote 
some films at Hanna-Barbera. I've just com- 
pleted a couple of good scripts that I'm hop- 
ing to get off the ground." 

Music is also an important factor in his 
life. "I write country music and folk, which is 
my love right now. I used to record country 
with a friend, the late Dorsey Burnett. The 
music I'm doing today is kinda metaphysi- 
cal, but it comes out of country. I regret hav- 
ing not worked more as an actor, but you've 
gotta look forward." 

Victor Lundin is still interested in tack- 
ling a good acting role and is surprised and 
flattered by continued interest in his science 
fiction work. He would enjoy hearing from 
fans, who may write to him at Box 6420. 
Woodland Hill's, CA 91365. He promises to 
autograph any pictures sent to him. His role 
as the alien Friday has generated most of the 
fan mail he has received over the years. 

"Robinson Crusoe on Mars was ahead of 
its time," he says. "It's now on laserdisc. Paul 
Mantee, lb Melchior and I did the soundtrack 
narration for the new laser print. We also 
appeared on an SF cable show a couple of 
years ago." He muses about a possible TV 
movie sequel that could explain what became 
of Friday and his adjustment to life on Earth. 

"Paul Mantee is still acting and lb is 
around." Vic Lundin notes. "Maybe the three 
of us could do Robinson Crusoe on Mars 
Revisited. We could go back to Mars and 
learn more about Friday's world. If there's 
enough fan support, it might be worth a go. It 
could make for an interesting film." -$g 

58 STASLOG/March 1996 


Complete your collection! 

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An android strives to save the future by exploring today. He's 

Alan Spencer is an optimist — and not 
just about whether his latest Holly- 
wood project will live or die. Spencer 
subscribes to an optimistic view of the pre- 
sent and future human race. 

So it's not surprising to find that this tele- 
vision writer/producer has grown weary of 
the prevalent brand of science fiction on the 
airwaves these days. That's why he created 
The Tomorrow Man, a two-hour TV movie 
produced by 3 Arts Entertainment in associa- 
tion with 20th Century Fox Television. 

"The genre is going into the dark ages," 
says Spencer. "The future has gotten gritty. 
Shows like Babylon 5. and certainly The X- 
Files, are some examples. It seems like 
everybody is trying to imitate The X-Files or 
deal with the genre that way. We used to look 
up at the stars and dream of going out there. 
Now we're running in fear because we're 
going to get abducted and have things put in 
our navels. 

"I just think we shouldn 't take a defeatist 
attitude." he adds. "I worry about the dark 
side taking over too much. It needs to be bal- 
anced. I don't want to see all dark visions. I 
liked the original Star Trek's optimism, its 
character interplay and its positive nature. It 
proved you could have conflict and action 
and adventure and danger, yet still have a 
good feeling about a future you want to live 
in, and characters you want to spend time 

Enter The Tomorrow Man, originally shot 
as the pilot for a mid-season replacement 
series on CBS until network executive 
changes reduced its status to a TV movie. 
British actor Julian Sands, known for his off- 
beat roles in such films as Boxing Helena, A 
Room With a View and Warlock, stars as 
Kenn. an android "Sentinel" sent back in 
time to present-day Earth. His mission: pre- 
vent the coming extinction of mankind. Kenn 
has knowledge of future events, but only as 

respondent, previewed Terminator 2 comics 
in issue #222. 


they've been recorded in history — so his 
foreknowledge can be inaccurate. Vital to his 
agenda is the preservation of mankind's 
research into space. 

Kenn teams up with a human, Jonathan 
Driscoll (Giancarlo Esposito). to right 
wrongs and set mankind on a better path. 
Driscoll is an artificial intelligence expert 
whose ideas are deemed '"too experimental." 

Driscoll and Kenn are pursued by two 
government men. Air Force Commander 
Ryan Parrish (Obba Babatunde) and Dr. 
Simon Galloway (Craig Wasson). Galloway 
already knows the truth about Kenn: he inter- 
cepted a previous Sentinel two years earlier 
and dismantled it. removing the chip contain- 
ing information about the future. If Galloway 

"The Tomorrow Man 

is an allegory about 

creating the most 

minute changes in 

order to change the 

future for the greater 


can capture Kenn. he can access the data on 
the chip and gain world power. 

Spencer's interest in science fiction may 
not be well known in the industry. He has 
worked mostly in comedy since breaking 
into screenwriting at age 16, contributing 
scripts to such shows as The Facts of Life and 
Love, Sidney. In 1986, he created and execu- 
tive-produced Sledge Hammer. the 
acclaimed police spoof. 

But Spencer, also a STARLOG contribu- 
tor in his younger days, has long been a sci- 
ence fiction fan. Only lately has the genre's 
direction begun to bother him. "With Earth 
2, 1 really didn't want to tune in every week 

to watch 'the Earth is dying.' And RoboCop 
as a movie is fine, but it's another thing to 
watch 'crime is destroying our cities' every 
week. If I want to see that. I have the 6 
o'clock news. It gets depressing. I like posi- 
tive characters and an optimistic vision. 
That's what keeps many viewers coming 
back every week." 

Tomorrow Trouble 

In 1994. he attempted to meld his 
comedic talents and his love of science fic- 
tion in Galaxy Beat, a half-hour pilot for 
CBS. It never aired. "Everybody who saw 
Galaxy Beat said it was hilarious, but they 
also said, 'These shows never work." 
Spencer relates. "Most TV shows are becom- 
ing pretty standard now." 

He was determined to try again, this time 
going for straight science fiction. Due to his 
comedic track record. Spencer found the net- 
works reluctant to consider him as a viable 
writer of science fiction, so he wrote The 
Tomorrow Man on spec. "It was a bizarre 
kind of typecasting." he admits. "I guess they 
assume I sleep with clown makeup on, and 
that during the majority of my day. I'm 
twirling a hula hoop." 

CBS read the script and immediately 
ordered it. "They wanted to get on the sci- 
ence fiction bandwagon," asserts Spencer. 
"The then-president of the network knew sci- 
ence fiction was big. But I realized some- 
thing when he mentioned that he had never 
seen Star Trek. He said. T don't watch that 
stuff.' When he referred to it as 'stuff,' he 
implied that he didn't really like it. While 
there are executives who acknowledge SF is 
hot, how many of them really have an appre- 
ciation or respect for it? There are some who 
think of it as kiddie time!" 

In the telefilm, an aerospace accident 
causes funding to be channeled away from 
deep space exploration, leaving mankind 
vulnerable in the future. Spencer was reflect- 
ing real-life, modern-day events and atti- 
tudes. "There are factions that want to keep 
funding NASA and keep exploring, and oth- 

62 STARLOG/Ator/; 1996 

ers that want to use that money to work on 
problems here on Earth. I say, we should try 
to do both! If you focus on one thing to the 
neglect of another, you can get a surprise, 
which is what happens to the future Earth in 
Tomorrow Man. Part of the reason the 
android has to come back through time is that 
in the future, humanity gets its act together 
and solves the problems of indigence and 
ecology, but in so doing is left vulnerable to 
an unforeseen threat: A comet is detected too 
late for defensive measures and sears the 
Earth's ozone layer. "'NASA scientists have 
been saying that if a meteor were to come 
toward us, we're not prepared — we would 
need 10 years to try to avert disaster. We need 
to explore space and explore Earth." 

Although CBS gave the go-ahead for 
Spencer's project, the pilot wasn't shot right 
away. As a result. Spencer could only deliver 
a 40-minute presentation to the network, 
which didn't do the trick. "They said we were 
being considered for midseason. because 
they needed to see the finished pilot," the 
producer explains. 

"Everyone who sees 

it says they want to 

know what happens 


Then, as happens so often at television 
networks, there were wholesale executive 
changes at CBS. which were later followed 
by the network's sale to Westinghouse. "So 
now, the only thing I'm sure about is that the 
pilot will air as a two-hour movie.'" Just when 
it'll be broadcast hasn't been announced. The 
film finished. Spencer is waiting to see 
whether the new regime greenlights The 
Tomorrow Man for additional episodes. 

"Science fiction at its best always works 
on several different levels," he says. "That's 
why it appeals to all ages. All of us can relate 
to SF in different ways. There are people who 
believe that science fiction is Lost in Space: 
Where's the Banana Man who attacks the 
ship? Some feel science fiction is for a freaky 
audience that's illiterate. I hope The Tomor- 
row Man will help dispel those images. It 
was truly a labor of love, and it does have a 
positive nature. My intention with this was to 
put characterization first. I really wanted to 
focus on characters." 

Focusing on the android Kenn. Spencer 
made him completely objective, observing 
the ways of humans from the viewpoint of an 
alien visitor. For example. "Kenn and 
Driscoll are on a bus, and they see a blind 
man and a seeing-eye dog boarding. Kenn 
describes it as two divergent life forms com- 
bining for greater efficiency. And Driscoll 
looks over at him and says, 'Yeah, like us.' 
The android doesn't view anything as a neg- 
ative. He doesn't judge anyone by appear- 
ance: everyone has a clean slate with him. 

"In another scene, Driscoll tells Kenn. 
'You take low self-esteem to new heights!" 
The android quotes Shakespeare: 'We cannot 
all be masters." In dealing with humans in this 

Kenn (Julian Sands, right), an android from the future, teams with Jonathan Driscoll (Gian- 
carlo Esposito) to set mankind on a better path in Alan Spencer's The Tomorrow Man. 

adventure, he gets more of an identity and a 
sense of self. He comes with a mission to 
accomplish, and when he's done, his exis- 
tence is no longer necessary. He doesn't have 
a feeling about that, but he has someone very 
close to him who has become his best friend, 
so he's becoming a friend in return" 

Tomorrow Thespian 

Sands' casting, says Spencer, "elevates 
the potential of the whole project." He didn't 
create the role of Kenn for Sands, but says 
the actor fit the part perfectly. "I didn't have 
anybody specific in mind for the role. Never 
in a million years did I think Julian would be 
interested in doing a pilot or a TV series. 
Then, this phone call came saying Julian 
Sands was interested. I said, 'I'm sure he is, 
but in what?' His agent said, 'In Tomorrow 
Man' I could hardly believe it. He didn't read 
for the part, of course. He just came in and 
we talked. I wanted character development 
and growth, and that's easy when you have 
great actors, especially someone like Julian." 
Spencer chuckles, "who can pronounce 
words correctly. He doesn't have to look 
them up; he has a vocabulary! There are 
some network executives who think a the- 
saurus is a dinosaur." 

Sands' enigmatic style seemed particular- 
ly appropriate. "Since I had written an alien 
who looks like a human. I wanted someone 
who has an alien quality, just as himself. And 
that's Julian. You know, if Julian Sands 
walked into Denny's, you would notice! He 
has that quality. Like Leonard Nimoy, he's a 
mysterious man. It's not as huge a leap for 
these actors to play aliens. 

"Julian is great fun. I went up to him on 
the set and said, As an actor, you're very low 
maintenance.' He looked at me and said, 
'Extremely low.' He enjoys reading books 
between takes. There's nothing neurotic 
about him: he's just an absolute divine plea- 
sure to be around. People know him primari- 
ly for his dark and weird roles, but I saw him 
as a hero and I mentioned that to him during 
a scene where he saves the day. I said, T love 
you as a villain but it's so refreshing to see 
you as a hero!" He replied, 'Yes. Fancy that!" 
It makes it easier to have your kids on the set 
when you're saving the day as opposed to 
when you're boxing Helena." 

Of the rest of the cast. Spencer says simply. 
"We were just looking for the best actors for the 
roles. Obba Babatunde has a lot of stage train- 
ing and he's very versatile: he also does won- 
derful Sammy Davis Jr. imitations on the set. 

STARLOG/Ma;r/j 1996 63 

CBS is still 
tinkering with the 
idea of just when 
to air The 
Tomorrow Man TV 
movie. Consult 
your local listings. 

"Craig Wasson is an accessible 'every- 
man," generally known for playing nice guys. 
So having him play the villain in Tomorrow 
Man goes against type. But he"s not really a 
villain in the traditional sense; he's not trying 
to do evil. He wants the computer chip in 
Kenn's head because he thinks knowledge of 
the future will enable him to avert wars and 
cure diseases and help the present. He isn't 
concerned about the future he's not going to 
see. He wants to fix the present. 

"Giancarlo Esposito is terrific and works 
very well with Julian. There is some humor 
in this and they carry it well. Giancarlo's 
character is afraid of flying. Julian can put 
him at ease, because with his knowledge of 
future events, he says. 'There will be four air- 
line crashes this year, and you're not on one.' 
Giancarlo is an Italian- African American, but 
his role wasn't written for an ethnic actor. It 
was just written for the best actor, and he was 
the best actor for the job." 

Tomorrow Travel 

Not everyone puts as high a premium on 
good acting in science fiction, asserts 
Spencer. He says the networks are frequently 
guilty of placing sets and concepts far ahead 
of acting talent. 

"Maybe it's because of the way that SF 
programs are being written. With so much 
technobabble. the actors don't get much of a 
chance to act. If I can get through that kind of 
thinking and reach the audience, much like 
Chris Carter did. the rewards will be great. 
The audience will appreciate my trusting 
them, and giving them the best I can." 

Hopefully, the audience also won't get 

hung up comparing The Tomorrow Man to 
Starman, The Questor Tapes or The Man 
Who Fell to Earth. "I won't deny any com- 
parison you want to make to those types of 
shows, but I would ask you to include more 
of them, because they all share something in 
common: the view of the human race through 
the eyes of an innocent, who teaches us but 
leams as well. Anytime you're dealing with 
an alien on Earth, you're going to draw that 
kind of correlation. I really see The Day the 
Earth Stood Still more than anything else. 
But all these things tend to be linked, even if 

"We used to look up at 
the stars and dream 
of going out there." 

you consider Mark and Mindy or My 
Favorite Martian. That's just on the surface. 
What I think differentiates The Tomorrow 
Man is Julian Sands playing the title charac- 
ter. And by the show's end. you might be 
wondering if the title also applies to Giancar- 
lo's character — he could be the Tomorrow- 
Man as well." 

What about his movie's echoes of various 
time-travel stories through the years'? "These 
tend to deal with affecting change." Spencer 
replies. "While I've enjoyed some time-trav- 
el adventures, like Time After Time, there are 
many of these stories where the most impor- 
tant rule is to not change the future. The 
Tomorrow Man. on the other hand, is an alle- 
gory about creating the most minute changes 

in order to change the future for the greater 
good. We could do the things Kenn does — 
things that we should be doing now." 

A quote from the English novelist and 
essayist Aldous Huxley appears in the film 
and sums up one of The Tomorrow Man s 
interlocked themes: "At their first appear- 
ance, innovators are always derided as fools 
and madmen." 

"There are many people who don't 
believe in themselves because they've been 
beaten down by the opinions of others and 
have given up." notes Spencer. "They've 
been discouraged by the system. You never 
know what you're onto until you stop worry- 
ing about the world's reactions. Many people 
— who aren't recognized in their lifetimes — 
have made significant contributions to 
mankind. It's important not to give up." 

Whether The Tomorrow Man becomes a 
weekly TV series or remains simply a two- 
hour movie. Spencer's not complaining. 
"Either way. I'll be very proud of it." he says. 
"Everyone who sees it says they want to 
know what happens next, because it has an 
air of The Fugitive to it. So we'll see what 
happens. To quote another line from the 
show. "Who can predict the future?' 

"I do know that the future is in our 
hands." concludes Alan Spencer. "If all of us 
say. "Oh. the future is not going to be any- 
thing and my efforts are useless and my voice 
will never be heard.' then we're doomed. But 
if all of us take action and take responsibility, 
and don't view ourselves as some sort of rab- 
ble, a mass that doesn't matter, then differ- 
ences can be made. Whatever future you 
want can be achieved." -^ 

64 STARLOG/Marc/; 1996 

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in alien combat, Kristen Cloke finds herself part of a 
family exploring Space: Above and Beyond. 


I s the brooding, tough and tal- 
ented fighter pilot Shane 
Vansen on the freshman Fox 
SF-action series Space: 
Above and Beyond, Kristen 
Cloke sounds as if she's hav- 
ing a ball. "I think this is such a great show 
and I'm very proud of it. The stories are 
fresh, the character is interesting and I 
love the cast, crew and producers. So, I 

couldn't be happier," enthuses the actress. 
"When I first started doing Space, I was 
really terrified because I didn't really 
know for sure where Shane was going to go 
as a character. Each week that I do it now, 
it seems more and more clear to me. 

"Shane is a woman who you see very 
much through her relationships with the 
show's other characters. I think she started 
as someone who joined the Marines in order 

she knows the fortunes of 
war, Cloke is ready to 
portray Shane Vansen for 
a long time 

to get away from her sisters, who she 
brought up, so she could finally be out 
there on her own. What she ended up with 
was a new family in Nathan West [Mor- 
gan Weisser], Vanessa Damphousse 
[Lanei Chapman], Cooper Hawkes 
[Rodney Rowland], Paul Wang [Joel de 
la Fuente] and Commander McQueen 
[James Morrison]. Now, you learn 
about Shane in terms of her interac- 
tion with these people. They all have 
to go into extreme circumstances, 
war-type circumstances, and who 
they are, at the very bottom of their 
souls, is revealed as a result. We 
already know that Shane would die 
for these people, that she desperate- 
ly wants to protect the planet and 
the people in the 58th Squadron." 

Fighter Pilot 

Space is set in the year 2063, 
and finds the untested young fight- 
ers of the 58th battling against a 
wildly powerful, mysterious alien 
force called the Chigs that, by 
attacking Earth colonists, has 
engaged Earth in a war it may not 
be able to win. The eager but raw 
58th, in many ways, is Earth's last 
hope, as the aliens have decimated 
the planet's finest forces in a calcu- 
lated and catastrophic massacre. 
While Vansen is greatly motivated 
by affection for her battle-mates, 
it's also her past that drives her. Her 
parents were killed before the eyes 
of Vansen and her sisters, leaving 
Vansen to feel as if she should con- 
front the formidable alien threat as 
bravely and unflinchingly as her par- 
ents struggled against their assailants. 

"I don't know if I would say she 
has something to prove as much as she 
has so much to learn. Everybody on the 
show, I think, has something to learn. 
We all discover ourselves based on what 
we do from situation to situation," says 
the actress. "What we chose to do as a 
profession is very important, because 
we're constantly learning about ourselves 
as a result. Shane is so interesting to me 
because she went into the Marines to find out 
who she is and. moreover, who she isn 't." 

IAN SPELLING, veteran STARLOG corre- 
spondent, writes the weekly "Inside Trek" 
column for the New York Times Syndicate. 
He profiled Peter Weller in issue #223. 

68 STARLOG/Ma/r/i 1996 

What Shane Vansen appears to be is a 
member of the walking wounded, the emo- 
tional walking wounded. That, notes Cloke, 
makes the character a rather challenging 
one to play, for there's not terribly much 
joy in Vansen's life at the moment, nor 
does there promise to be much in the 
future. "It's very rare that she'll even 
crack a smile or have an outpouring of 
happiness. The thing that she does have, 
though, and what she's very fortunate to 
have, are many intimate moments with 
all of the other characters where she 
shares some of their most private 
thoughts. She still has a very large 
capacity for love, which is very 
important to me in playing her. We've 
been seeing more and more of that 
with each episode. Despite her pain, 
she really longs for that kind of close- 
ness and requires it in the 1 1th hour. 
It's there for all of them when they 
think they're about to live their last 

"That makes Space so interesting 
for me as an actress, and I think 
everybody here probably feels the 
same way. These characters are 
always facing what may happen in 
the last minutes of their lives. What 
do you say to the last face you may 
see before you die? What are you 
thinking at that moment? These char- 
acters experience those feelings a 
great deal on this show, and facing 
them together, over and over again, 
makes them very close. So, it's in 
those moments that everyone's true 
colors are revealed." 

Cloke explains that she isn't partic- 
ularly comfortable discussing how she 
sees the various relationships on the 
series developing. "I'm not on a show 
where I think. 'Oh. I hope she gets 
together with Bob.' Space is not about 
that. When we have an episode about fear 
and each character tries to confront their 
own fears, the relationships develop," she 
argues. "For me, the show is about explor- 
ing the different levels of emotion that each 
character goes through, as they go through 

The actress has more to say about her 
Space co-stars, with whom she filmed the 
series' pilot in Australia and with whom she 
now toils day after day at a studio in Culver 
City, California. "I feel about them the way 
that my character feels about them on the 
show. I feel like I have close relationships 
with all of them. They've become family," 

"we all want space to 

continue because vie 

all love It" 

she offers. "They're good, smart, talented 
and ambitious people. It's really nice to be on 
a show where you're not working with huge 
stars. We're all sort of exploring the same 
thing at the same time, in terms of our careers 
and how Space may change them. So. it has 
really been a pleasurable experience." 

Of course, Cloke adds, she's especially 
fond of Chapman (STARLOG #223), in part 
because she's virtually the only other woman 
with whom Cloke interacts before the cam- 
eras. "The guys are kind of like my brothers 
and Lanei is like my sister. I think that even if 
she wasn't the only other woman in the 
group, it wouldn't make a difference and we 
would still be close. She's really a special 
person and a very good actress. She stands 
out on her own, no matter who is standing 
next to her." 

While she's doling out words of praise, 
Cloke also makes mention of her bond 
with show creators/executive producers 
Glen Morgan and James Wong. The 
actress describes both men as fun, 
imaginative and open to suggestions, 
and reports that they took the time to 
get to know the cast as people and 
actors so that they could best incor- 
porate individual personality traits 
into their writing. "I'm in Glen's 
office right now. Jim is on one side 
of me and Glen is on the other, and 
I'm sitting in the middle giving you 
this interview. I like that. They're like 
friends of mine and it doesn't feel like 
they're these two guys who sit at the top 
of the tower and never bother to talk to us 
There's a sense," she asserts, "that we're 
all in this together and we all really 
want something good for the show. We 
all want Space to continue because we 
all love it. We feel like we're all bunked 

up here in this funny little studio and that 
we're going to be here for the duration. That's 
a nice feeling to have between a show's cast 
and its producers." 

Young Actress 

Cloke was born in Van Nuys, California, 
and studied English at the California State 
University at Northridge. While at school, she 
acted in various theatrical productions and, in 
her junior year, landed a role in the film 
Megaville. Parts in Caged Fear, Stay Tuned 
and The Marrying Man followed. Among her 
TV credits are episodes of Mad About You. 

Quantum Leap, Silk Stalkings and a regular 
role on the short-lived drama Winnetka Road. 
"Acting wasn't really something I wanted to 
do, but I loved playing make-believe as a kid, 
pretending, fantasizing and making up sto- 
ries. Acting was more of a dream than any- 
thing else for me. When I went to college and 
majored in English, I started to think that 
English was a major that might not get me 
anywhere," she says. "I remember when I did 
a play, I talked to some of the other actors and 
said, 'God, can you imagine, you can actually 
get paid for doing this?' I got an agent that 
year and got the first thing I went out for, 
which was Megaville with Billy Zane. Many 
SF fans seem to know me from that film. I 
quit school and have been working 
ever since." 

While Cloke doesn't consider 
herself much of an SF fan, she 
appreciates solid storytelling. 
So, if there's a good story to 
be told within the context of 
an SF project, it's of interest 
to her. Still, there's interest 
and then there's the reality 
of bringing a vision of the 
future to life. How does 
one make battling fore- 
boding aliens in the late 
21st century convincing 
enough to keep an audi- 
ence with high expecta- 
tions tuning in week after 

"That's the funny 
thing about doing Space. 

Mystified as to why 
fans would want her 
autograph, Cloke 
declares, "I'm just 
playing a part on 

"I don't 

want the 
'espcnsEbUin ci 
being any one's 
rote model 

What's the primary difficulty of alien combat? "We have to believe what's going on in the story," Cloke explains. 

Forget about the special FX. Sometimes, I'm 
carrying these huge guns — S90s — around, 
and all of this ammunition. I grew up in a 
pretty passive household. My mother didn't 
allow guns or any kind of weaponry in the 
house," she recalls. "So, sometimes I look at 
myself and I look down at my smart missile 
on one side and my S90 slung around my 
back, and I think. 'Right, sure.' That part of it 
is kind of funny. It has really tested my will- 
ingness to believe the situation. If I don't 
believe it. though, it's going to show. 

"Just before we do an action take, we'll 
all get into it and scream at the aliens, just 
psyching each other up for the scene. Rodney 
[Rowland] is the best at that. Basically, the 
reason behind it is to remind us what we're 
up against all the time as characters. We have 
to believe what's going on in the story. The 
same thing goes for the FX, like flying. In a 
scene. I can be flying next to one of the other 
characters, and I just have to believe we're 
friends working together for this common 
cause, that it's a life-or-death situation." 

So far into Space, the episodes have been 
rather character-specific, with, for example. 
"The Dark Side of the Sun" focusing more 
on Vansen than on other members of the 
58th. Cloke seems comfortable with the idea 
that the show features six characters, all of 
whom must be developed slowly and steadi- 
ly, meaning that several episodes may pass 
before the writers explore Vansen again. In 
fact, some of her favorite Space outings are 
not "Shane episodes." " 'Dark Side' is really 
close to my heart. I almost wish I had done it 

now, because I know the character so much 
better now than I did when we did that show. 
'Fear' was another of my favorites because I 
got to experience intense emotions with all of 
the other characters, where all of our fears 
came out and were expressed." she remarks. 
"Vansen had a big scene with Wang in 
'Mutiny.' We talk about love. She's always 
protecting the people she loves, and I love 
learning more about that part of her. I like 
what we've done so far." 

Role Model 

While Cloke sounds comfortable with 
much of her Space experience, she admits 
that parts of it are a bit disconcerting. First, 
there's the issue of becoming a role model for 
young women. Then, there's the matter of the 
merchandising juggernaut that may be 
launched should Space continue to broaden 
its audience base. "Everybody responds to 
Shane because she's an orphan, has a lot of 
pain and tries to love people despite her prob- 
lems. She has a lot of courage and is con- 
stantly trying to do the right thing. I don't 
want the responsibility of being anyone's 
role model, but I hope Shane is someone peo- 
ple can look up to. I hope the whole 58th is a 
group that kids will look up to," she attests. 
"Space is a show about war. and I don't think 
there's anything admirable about war. I hope 
the ideals, the theme of making your family 
wherever you find them and the idea of 
defending people you love come through to 
audiences. There are certain messages in the 
show that I take away, like the ones I already 

mentioned, but also the ideas of the planet 
being one world. Maybe people can take all 
of these ideas and think about them." 

As for the notions of having her face plas- 
tered on a lunch box. or attending fan con- 
ventions, Cloke sounds ready to fight them 
off with one of Vansen's S90s. "All that stuff 
is kind of funny to me. I love acting and I 
have a good time doing it. but beyond that. 
I don't know. Even when I get fan letters, I 
think. 'Why do they want me to sign my 
name?' I'm just playing a part on television," 
she argues. "I have my job and you have your 
job. We all have our jobs to do, that we go to 
every day. I love that people love the charac- 
ter and love the show. Nothing can make me 
more thrilled, but somehow I feel separate 
from it. That part of it. the merchandising, 
the autographs, just seems so strange to me. I 
don't understand it because, maybe, I don't 
think of myself that way." 

It's quite possible Cloke's thinking on 
such issues may change over the coming 
months and. if Space continues to remain 
popular, over the next few years. The actress 
declares that she's ready for a extended run 
and for years of chasing the Chigs. "I go to 
work every day and play someone I love 
playing. In TV. I always figured that I would 
have to wait until my hiatus to play a great, 
better part, someone who was strong and 
smart and wasn't some guy's girl friend. But 
Shane Vansen," concludes Kristen Cloke, "is 
someone I really respect and love, and I have 
a great time playing her. I think I can play her 
for a long time... for a really long time." •& 

70 STARLOG/Mmr/i 1996 

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You know him. You love him. So there's no reason we 
need to introduce Harrison Ford. 


he human brain is the most complex information j much younger than Sean. I was playing my own age in Indiana 

retrieval system in existence. Certain things trigger \ Jones and the Last Crusade. Sean was the one playing old. 

certain memories: sounds, places, smells, names — all j STARLOG: Did you watch the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles 

will pull something from the depths of your mind. So, I episode that you did? 

when you hear the word hero, what comes to mind? \ FORD: I just did it. George prevailed upon me to be a part of 

Han Solo. What about adventure? Indiana Jones. The highest- \ Young Indiana Jones, and I was happy to do it for him. 

grossing actor in the history of motion pictures? Harrison Ford. i STARLOG: Tell us about Devil's Own. 

One of the few actors to actually abandon Hollywood— in favor of \ FORD: I'm playing a New York City police sergeant, an Irish 

a promising career as a carpenter — and then return to roles in films j type [who unwittingly invites an Irish terrorist to live with him]. 

like Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation and George Lucas' \ They give you a gun, badge, and I've grown a mustache for it. 

groundbreaking Star Wars, Ford has made his mark in show busi- I It's with Brad Pitt and directed by Alan Pakula [who directed 

ness as the consummate leading man, in films ranging from action \ Ford in Presumed Innocent}. We started shooting in January. 

spectacles like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Fugitive to charac- \ I've been going out every chance I get [with real police officers] 

ter dramas like Presumed Innocent and Regarding Henry. i to get a sense of what the New York version of it all is in some 

Ford is one of the few "sure things" in Hollywood, which is why j detail. I like detail, the little things. It's a tough, tough job, a very 

Paramount Pictures asked him to help resurrect their Jack Ryan j complicated business. I've played a cop a couple of times before, 

franchise after Alec Baldwin vacated the role. He made Patriot I in Witness for one. Come to think of it, maybe that's the only 

Games and Clear and Present Danger box-office winners. No \ other time I've played a policeman. [Unless one counts his role as 

matter what he is in, or who he plays, people want to see Ford on ! Rick Deckard in Blade Runner.] 

the silver screen, and for good reason — he's one of the last of a \ STARLOG: You tackle romantic comedy in Sabrina. It's not exact- 

dying breed. Harrison Ford is a true star, and they're tough to \ ly what you're known for. What did you make of that challenge? 

come by these days. I FORD: It was a different character than any I had played 

! before. I wanted to do a comedy. I wanted to do a love story. This 
! one had a degree of complexity that I hadn't seen. There was a 

£ STARLOG: After all the various parts that you've done over the j degree of ambition to my doing it. I thought Sydney [The Firm] 

1 years, does it bother you at all that you are so associated with I Pollack was the right director for it. I admire him enormously as 

t Indiana Jones and Han Solo? I a director, especially his comedies. Also, I have enormous respect 

I HARRISON FORD: No, not at all. Obviously, I'm very lucky to j for him as an actor. I really wanted to work with him for both of 

j£ have stumbled into those parts. I can only consider that part of j those reasons. This seemed like a good fit. 

the enormous good fortune I've had in my career. 

STARLOG: The 20th anniversary of Star Wars is a little more 

STARLOG: Do you ever want to show your dark side and play a 
bad guy? 

than a year away. What do you make of George Lucas starting ; FORD: I might want to but I'm pretty aware, on a professional 

up that franchise again? 

level, of how it might disadvantage a film. People are only grudg- 

FORD: I'm pleased that George has found something that inter- I ingly accepting of those kinds of roles. I don't want to handicap 

ests him enough to do it again. It's not likely to include the three [a film I'm in because I made some choice. I want to make films 

of us [Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher], so I don't feel j; that audiences want to go and see. I want to give pleasure to peo- 

involved with it at all. It does seem like a long time ago.. .and i pie. Everyone has all aspects of human nature within them. I'm 

very far away. I'm sure Ell see the new films with my kids. I mostly able to control the villain in me. Those parts don't inter- 

STARLOG: What's thelatest on the next Indiana Jones film? ! est me so much because the thematic thrust is not usually 

FORD: The script thai came through last time didn't really L attached to the bad guy, but to the good guy. Most of the bad guy 

excite Steven [Spielberg] or myself that much, that we would feel j parts are about interesting ways of killing people these days. I 

compelled to do it. So, I guess they'll have to take another whack j just can't bear that kind of movie. I'm interested in the exercise 
at it. I hope it works out. i 

STARLOG: Word is that you'll be playing your own age, that it j into a dark room and having them feel their humanity. I think it 

won't be a prequel and you won't be pulling a [Sean] Connery. j makes us better people. We don't have too many places in our 

FORD: I always play my own age. I don't know how else to do it. i culture where tl 
I'm not that much o'^ 

r how else to do it. j culture where that happens any more. I think that playing good 

' nt thing, and I enjoy doing that. 



Trace Beaulieu puts in overtime on the 
Satellite of Love. He's the alter-ego of 
Crow T. Robot, he's on camera as Dr. 
Clayton Forrester and he even writes for 
Mystery Science Theater 3000. Now that the 
cable TV favorite is making its way to the big 
screen with Mystery Science Theater 3000: 
The Movie. Beaulieu is getting a crash course 
on the finer points of filmmaking. 

"There's more waiting here, but better 
food," says Beaulieu on the movie's Min- 
neapolis set. "I don't really know what I 

Photo: Michael Kienitz 

"We're sticking our necks 
out somewhat, but 
someone's got to 
do it," says Trace 
Beaulieu, one of the 
masterminds behind 
Mystery Science Theater 
3000: The Movie. 

74 STAKLOG/March 1996 

All MST3K Photos: Copyright 1995 Gramercy Pictures 

I f\\ 

As Mystery Science Theater 3000 hits 

the big screen, Trace Beaulieu is finally 

on the other side of the joke. 

expected. It has been a lot of fun as well as 
very stimulating to meet and work with so 
many really talented people." 

Featuring the same format as the TV 
series, MST3K: The Movie involves a man 
and his two robot friends (Crow and Tom 
Servo) who are forced to watch cheesy 

movies as part of an experiment by a 
mad scientist (Forrester). There are 
sketches that appear during breaks in 
each episode, but the core of the 
show (and the film) sees host Mike 
Nelson and the two robots com- 
menting hilariously throughout the 
screening, making one-liners, puns 
and obscure references of all kinds. 
TV episodes have featured grade-Z 
works like Teenage Strangler. 
Monster a Go-Go and The Wild, 
Wild World ofBatwoman. 

For their first feature, they have moved up 
to the more highly respected This Island 
Earth, though the film's shooting style is cer- 
tainly unorthodox by Hollywood standards. 
They're shooting an entire feature in just four 
weeks, and thanks to the film-within-a-film, 
they're doing 60 pages of dialogue in an 
unbelievable two daysl 

"That's unheard of," laughs Beaulieu. 
"It's a little out of proportion. We know how 
to do the movie part of it so well, but the live 
action is conventionally shot, just like a real 
movie. It takes hours to set up the lighting 
and camera. We go in and deliver one line, 
and then we're setting up again. It's hard to 
maintain a rhythm that way, so it was nice to 
get those two days 
under our belt, where 
we got all of the movie 
portion shot." 

With a background 
in improv and stand-up 
comedy, Beaulieu says 
he began appearing as 
Dr. Forrester and oper- 
ating Crow in the early 
days of the show, when it began running on a 
Minneapolis UHF station. "That's a product 
of the low budget of the original run on 
KTMA. Originally, Josh Weinstein and I 
were doing the puppets. The mad scientists 
were brought in as the reason why this person 
was up in space. We were there already doing 
the puppets, so they decided to have us do the 
mad scientists as well. Frank Conniff came 
along with season two for Comedy Central 
and took over for Josh, and Kevin Murphy 
started doing the Tom Servo puppet. No one 
ever told me to vacate either role, so I 
retained those positions on the team!" 

Beaulieu says the first season of the show, 
which included original host Joel Hodgson 

"When you get into 

the arena of 


everything costs 


Beaulieu wears 
three hats on MST3K: a bowler, a 
Stetson and a battery-powered fez. He is 
also a co-writer, Dr. Clayton Forrester and 
the voice of Crow T. Robot (left). 

and producer Jim Mallon, was extremely low- 
budget and primitive. The character of For- 
rester evolved slowly at first. "It was vague in 
the beginning. At KTMA, we used to do the 
whole show in one day — that's how cheap it 
was. I think our budget was $250; I used to 
get S25 a week. We would shoot the host seg- 
ments in the morning. First, we would 'write' 
them, and I'm using that word generously — 
we would sit on the floor in Jim's office and 
write them very quickly. Then, we would 
shoot the host segments 
on the Satellite of Love. 
Right before lunch, we 
would shoot the mad 
scientist bits. We just 
did it in the control 
room of the TV station, 
literally reading off 
scripts, because we had 
no time to memorize 
them — not that we were even capable of 
doing that. People would be sitting around the 
control room going, 'Come on! Let's go to 
lunch! Hurry up!' 

"I had been doing a character on stage 
called Roger Quabious, and we folded some 
of that into Forrester. They wanted a Gregory 
Peck kind of voice, and it evolved from that. 
The name comes from the Gene Barry charac- 
ter in War of the Worlds. Then, bringing in 
Frank changed the dynamic. It was great 
working with Frank — there was a lot of give 

LOG correspondent, profiled Terry Gilliam 
in STARLOG #222. 

STARLOG/March 1996 75 

and take, and he was really fun to work 

Conniff, better known to fans as 
"TV's Frank," the other mad scientist 
on the show, decided to leave the 
series in 1995 and move to Los Ange- 
les, where he did Arrack of rhe Killer 
B-Movies for NBC. Beaulieu notes 
that Forrester will have to adjust to his 
departure. "It's going to be a little dif- 
ferent. The moviegoing audience 
won't know the difference, they won't 
know what they're missing. But hope- 
fully it'll work out OK." 

Puppet Master 

Beaulieu jokes that his golden- 
beaked co-star hasn't been too 
demanding. "Crow has been really 
good to work with," he says. "I think 
it's because we have enough time 
apart. He has time to process and deal 
with his emotions. He comes to the 
set, he's ready, he does his job." 

Because of the movie camera, new 
worlds have opened up for the robots. 
"The camera becomes more involved 
in how we portray the characters," he 
says. "We're up at the top of the set 
looking down on Crow as he tilts his 
head up, which is something we could 
never do on the TV show. Here, he's 
swinging an ax, and we can actually 
show Tom Servo with his hands up 
over his eyes waving. The camera is 
like another puppet!" 

The added complications, which 
sometimes involve the robots moving 
freely around the ship, require more 
robot operators. "Anywhere up to 
three people might be running Crow," 
reveals Beaulieu. "For the sequence 
where Crow tries to break through 
the ship's hull with the ax. Pat 
Brantseg is swinging the ax. He's 
packed under the set looking at a 
monitor, while Fm squeezed in there 
running Crow, making his mouth 
move and doing the voice." 

Getting emotions out of such a rigid-look- 
ing robot might seem difficult, but Beaulieu 
says there are a few tricks that can help. "It's 
kind of second nature now, doing it for so 
many years and refining it and figuring out 
little tweaks here and there that can make it 
work better. His eyes are very expressive. 
You can get an emotion out of him just by the 
way his head tilts and by the way his eyes are 
positioned in that little soap dish which is his 
eye socket. The way the lines are written and 
delivered has a lot to do with that, and much 
of it is the viewer's responsibility. They pro- 
ject their own interpretation to make it work. 
I certainly think the other puppets are a little 
more difficult to portray, because Gypsy has 
virtually no emotion, and it's all tilts and how 
Jim [Mallon] delivers the line. Tom has no 
eyes, and he has a bit more freedom. It's a 
real challenge to puppet these things, 
because they aren't warm and fuzzy. They're 
really kind of cold and stiff — literally! There 
aren't many moving parts on them." 

Photo: Michael Kienitz 

Poor Mike Nelson is being held prisoner 
on the Satellite of Love by a mad scientist 
and is forced to watch cheesy movies with 
a pair of robots. Don't laugh. 

The road to the big screen has been a long 
one for MST3K. It wasn't until Universal 
executives saw a live presentation of the 
show during the Mysrery Science Thearer 
3000 1994 ConventioConExpoFest-A-Rama 
(STARLOG #210) that they agreed to the 

"We had been kicking around this movie 
idea for about four years now," says 
Beaulieu. "We knew that this show played 
really well before a large group of people. 
Like the live show demonstrated, it's a lot of 
fun to sit down with a bunch of people in the 
audience. It's just a great time!" 

The live screening of This Island Earrh 
helped them fine-tune the film script, he 
notes. "It gave us a sense of rhythm and tim- 
ing on the jokes. It also taught us that we 
needed to broaden their scope, because not 

everyone gets every joke. We would 
like to keep some that are a little bit 
more obscure, even though no one 
laughed at them — those are more for 
us! Then, we also included some 
more general jokes. We took out a lot 
of topical stuff — there wasn't much 
anyway — and regional references. 
We haven't been able to do too much 
song referencing with lyrics and 
melodies, because of the rights prob- 
lem. When you get into the arena of 
filmmaking, everything costs money. 
That kind of hurt, because a big part 
of what we do is reference pop cul- 
ture, and a huge slice of that pie is 
music! But, we substituted equally 
funny or funnier jokes in those slots, 
which will help make it a different 
experience for those people who did 
see the live shows." 

Despite the script, the movie- 
within-a-movie format was by no 
means a sure thing at first. "One of 
the original script drafts concentrat- 
ed more on live action and explored 
the mythology of the characters. We 
had the scientists going to a Mad 
Scientist Convention in Las Vegas. It 
was a more conventional, Holly- 
wood-type movie. We went to Para- 
mount with that concept and they 
were interested. Then that dissolved, 
and we came back around to doing 
what we do best, which is comment- 
ing on the movie-within-a-movie, 
and focusing on our characters. That 
was a good process to go through, 
and maybe the second or third 
film — or hopefully the fifth or sixth 
film, knock on wood! — will explore 
that world a bit more." says 

The TV shows have already been 
screened before huge crowds, and 
when a few of them were blown up to 
16mm, the results were very gratify- 
ing. "We visited the University of 
Wisconsin at Madison, the University of 
Minnesota, and we were invited by the 
Peabody people in Athens. Georgia to a 
screening of Zombie Nighrmare on campus. 
All of those screenings worked fabulously," 
says Beaulieu. "Recently, we were out at the 
Director's Guild in LA, where we were being 
honored by the Museum of Television and 
Radio. They have a beautiful video projec- 
tion system, and they played three of the 
shorts — one on railroad safety, another on 
shop and one called A Dare Wirh Your Fami- 
ly, and those worked great! There were a lot 
of fans in the audience, and it was a wonder- 
ful time. It's so fun to see them projected." 

Its creators are going to go back to do six 
more TV shows for Comedy Central follow- 
ing the filming, which makes Mysrery Sci- 
ence Thearer 3000 one of the only TV shows 
made into a feature film that immediately 
returned to TV production. 

"It's going to be the Losr Episodes, or 
MST: The Nexr Generation, or MST: Voy- 
ager," says Beaulieu. "It's going to be a little 

76 STARLOG/Ma;r/7 1996 

"We had been kicking around this 

movie idea for about four years now," 

Beaulieu states. They decided that 

This Island Earth would be the subject 

of their scorn. 

strange. I think those shows are going to be 
different. We have an obvious cast change 
with Frank's departure, and we need to deal 
with the mad scientist portion of the show, 
but basically, the concept is still the same — 
little guys talking back to movies. And that's 
the bulk of what we do. The rest is frosting." 

Mad Scientist 

Costs are becoming too high for them to 
continue the TV show as they have in the past 
without increasing their budget, and rights are 
also not as easy to come by as they were in the 
early years. "It's getting harder to find bad 
movies at our price level." says Beaulieu. 
"We've talked about raising the budget for 
movie acquisition, to sort of put us into the 
next category of bottom-of-the-barrel films. It 
would be fun to do TV disaster films and star- 
studded disease-of-the-week things with a lit- 
tle bit of a science bent to them. We've looked 
at quite a few films and found maybe half for 
the next season, but that's getting harder. I 
mean, we've looked at so many films that 
there's not much left that we can get our 
hands on! Money is a big problem, as is get- 
ting the rights to these films." 

Beaulieu believes the TV show has contin- 
ued to evolve. "The production values contin- 
ue to improve." he says. "That was always 
strongly stressed, that this thing would always 
be produced professionally once we got 
beyond the confines of our lackluster budgets. 
That continues with Jeff Stonehouse. who is 
shooting the show and the feature film. He 
was brought in with that in mind, that he 

would shoot the feature film, and he contin- 
ues to shoot the TV show. He has a really 
great sense of lighting that has enriched the 
show enormously. I think the scientists' set 
has changed a little bit: there used to be an 
elevator in there. So. we continue to tweak 
and improve, and try new things." 

"The camera is like 
another puppet!" 

Both Crow and Forrester are changing 
enough to keep him interested, he notes. 
"They're evolving with the show. Crow is fun. 
because I can do several different characters 
within his character. Forrester is always pre- 
sented with some bizarre costume or prop to 
be impaled upon, or a dimwitted sidekick to 
torture. The writers keep coming up with 
great ideas, and that's the key, 
really. The writing is solid." 

Still, all of the characters 
are established enough to make 
the movie less intimidating. 
"Coming into this film, we had 
a very high comfort level, 
because we didn't have to fig- 
ure out the characters — they're 
set. We didn't have to figure 
out the environment, because 
it's already there. We could 
just have fun with these guys 
and be comfortable with it, and 
see what the larger audience 
thinks!" says Beaulieu. 

He admits that by making a 
movie themselves, they are 
opening themselves up to the 
kind of criticism that they sub- 
ject other movies to. "We're 
sticking our necks out some- 
what, but someone's got to do 
it. Maybe that's not a good 

Beaulieu and company are 
thrilled to have made the 
jump from the small screen 
to the silver one. "There's 
more waiting here, but better 
food," offers Beaulieu. 

enough reason to do it. but we're doing it! I 
think, having done stand-up. on a good night 
maybe 20 percent of the audience are with 
you and 80 percent of the people don't care 
or hate you; it's all percentages. We do what 
we do. we enjoy it, we make ourselves laugh 
and hopefully the people who dig what we do 
will be there." 

With a book and a CD-ROM on the hori- 
zon, the future of MST3K could go in any 
number of directions. "It has evolved so 
much, and I've enjoyed each incarnation of 
it — I think it just keeps getting better and bet- 
ter," Beaulieu maintains. "Once we came up 
with the idea of doing a motion picture, it 
made perfect sense, because we started in 
this crummy TV station and now we're going 
to the big screen. So in a way, we are becom- 
ing what we ridiculed — we're not making a 
bad movie, but history will tell. We could do 
sequels, we could explore the mythology of 
the show, perhaps spinoffs, and Best Brains 
is developing some ideas that will hopefully 
provide other creative directions. 

"Perhaps the next film will be another 
film within a film, and the third one could 
maybe explore the characters — maybe they 
get back to Earth? Maybe Mike has spent his 
whole life in grade school, and now has to 
inherit the family business: that could be very 
wacky. Or maybe he has a son and they trade 
places — I don't think that idea has been 
plumbed yet!" 

He admits he is reluctant about the 
prospect of going back to TV, even for six 
more episodes. "I'm not going back," jokes 
Beaulieu. "I'm not going back! They'll have 
to pry the puppet out of my hands with a 
crowbar'. Sorry..." 

Still, fans who have enjoyed the show on 
TV for free are guaranteed to get their 
money's worth with Mystery Science Theater 
3000: The Movie. "I think they'll get a sense 
of community," says Trace Beaulieu. "You'll 
find a closeness through laughter, bringing us 
together. You'll get an experience you can't 
get at home, and that's the project's genesis. 
It plays really well with a large audience, and 
when you get everybody in there laughing, 
there's nothing else like it that I've ever 
found. And believe me, I've looked!" i& 

STARLOG/Marc/) 1996 77 


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+ $3 postage (Foreign: $6) 


DC Justice | 
League Plate 1 

910292 $39.99 S 
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Comics Collection 

Hardback Autographed 
The syndicated comic strip in a three- 
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Archie Goodwin and artist Al 
Williamson. Intros by authors and 
George Lucas. 907511 $149.99 + 
$7.50 postage (Foreign: $15) 

Star Wars 
poster, 24- 

x36", by artist 

Taylor Kent. 
907483 $15.99 + 
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Luke Skywalker 

Autographed by 
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0000X7 $109.99 + 
$8 postage 


Luke & Yoda 

(Not shown) 
Autographed by 
Mark Hamill 
903623 $109.99 + 
$8 postage 

Tie and Suspender Set 
Celluloid filmstrip with 
scenes in color. 907497 

$9.99 + $3 postage (Foreign: $6) 






Signed in silver by David (Darth 
Vader) Prowse. 908767 $49.99 + 
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Spock Plaque 

Autographed by Leonard Nlmoy 
003911 S149.99 + S8 postage (Foreign: $30) 


Kirk & Spock Plaque 

Signed by William Shatner and 
Leonard Nimoy 

912773 S249.99 + $8 postage (Foreign: S30) 

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Letters, letters, letters. Over the years, we've gotten all kinds of 
them here at STARLOG. Most get published in Communica- 
tions. You know the type. The "I like this show more than that 
one and why" essay. The "I just saw this movie and here's my opin- 
ion" review. The "everything you know and do is wrong" valentine. 

But there's one particular type of letter we never print: the plea 
to put whatever cancelled TV show back on the air. 

Xo. no. not those pleas which list the network addresses and 
suggest readers write in to express their displeasure at the newest 
executive mistake. Those we print. There's at least one per extinct 
series. Here's the kind I'm talking about: 

"Dear STARLOG: I liked X-Acto Man. Why did you take it off 
the air? Please put it back." 

Ahhh, yes, as if we had that power. . . 

True, these letters would seem to mostly come from younger or 
less sophisticated readers, folks who have somehow come to believe 
that the entertainment media exerts such influence on television net- 
works that they will do anything we say. But it is an intriguing 
idea. . .and I have gotten letters, personally pleading with me to do 
something. One reader not long ago implored me to tell George 
Lucas to make that next Star Wars movie lickety-split. like right 
now, fella! 

Still, what if. . .what if. . .what "if I were King of the Forest? Not 
prince, not duke," but network programmer. 

First off, I would never have cancelled my favorite-ever show, St. 
Elsewhere. Or for that matter Legend, Alien Nation, The Adventures 
ofBrisco County Jr.. Quantum Leap, Starman, The Flash, Earth 2 
and about 18 other shows. Plus, I would have somehow, some way. 
20 years later, renewed Kolchak: The Night Stalker. There's proba- 
bly some clause in Darren McGavin's contract that allows that great 
series to come back from the dead once a decade during a total 

\TSTllAe FoK... . 








■SAY, po Yoy 

YOU ow/E 

April Fools' Day on board the Death Star... 

Who's going * Not me.' 

(Did you notice that I simultaneously work for UPN, Fox, NBC, 
CBS and ABC? Hey, it's my fantasy.) 

On the other hand. Full House and Family Matters, they would 
not have lasted 13 weeks. And Married... With Children, Hunter. Dr. 
Quinn Medicine Woman, America 's Funniest Home Videos and 
about 1 8 other shows would have never aired. 

(Notice how quickly I would be out of a programming job if I 
failed to push such unaccountably popular fare. Boy, I would be 
gone from television like The Flash and off pursuing an honest 
living, possibly as a purse-snatcher.) 

Working for the networks, of course, means I would have no say 
whatsoever in the renewal or cancellation of syndicated shows like 
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Time Trax, Baywatch and American 
Gladiators. OK, maybe some say. I could call up folks and urge 
them, as a public service, to cancel Baywatch. 

However. I have to admit that network programmers do occa- 
sionally have real dilemmas to face. Here's a multiple choice prob- 
lem. What's to be done if the female lead of the fantasy series, a la 
Beauty & the Beast, wants to leave? 

A) Let the creators make it Some Other Beaut}- & the Same 
J Old Beast. 

B) Pretend it's a soap opera and recast the character. 

C) Shuffle time slots a lot and cancel the show. 

D) Go on vacation and delegate the decision to someone else. 

E) All of the above. 

(The correct answer, if you're a TV executive, is of course E.) 
Ahhh. think of the things I could do with this great power 

| (with which, as Spider-Man has always taught us, comes great 
responsibility). I could import Blackadder to network television. 

' Yes! Revive TV Westerns. Huzzah!! Have lunch with Elizabeth 
McGovern. Hallelujah!!! 

Well, I could daydream about this for a whole page, but I'm 
almost outta space and there was something I still had to do. Oh 
yeah. Hey. George! Yes. you, the one with the beard and the 
money. George Lucas. Make that next Star Wars movie lickety- 
split, like right now. fella. 

—David McDonnell/Programming Messiah (December 1995) 

The STARLOG Line-Up on sale now: STAR TREK: VOYAGER #5 profiles starship captain Kate Mulgrew and Sharon Lawrence 
while writer/producer Brannon Braga addresses his Voyager adventures. . .COMICS SCENE #54 showcases at long last, Lois Lane — 
Teri Hatcher — as well as a Toontown legend in a lengthy interview with the late master of animation Friz Freleng (plus Jonny Quest, 
the all-new animated Superman and more). 

SCIENCE-FICTION EXPLORER #11 unveils all-new chats with Bruce Boxleitner. Gillian Anderson, Angela Bassett, Nowhere 
Man's Bruce Greenwood, Rodney {Space) Rowland, Pierce Brosnan and others. 

FANGORIA #150 marks a gala milestone in fear magazine publishing with a special giant-size double-issue hosted by the Crypt 
Keeper (no less) and featuring all-new interviews with such horror hall of famers as Christopher Lee, Stephen King and Tom Savini. 

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE #14 profiles the loveliest Trill in this universe, Terry Farrell. And look for STARLOG #225 at 
newsstands and magazine outlets March 5. 

82 STARLOG//Wfl/r/! 1996 


Anyone who has watched and enjoyed 
Star Trek: The Next Generation for its seven-year 
successful run will have to have this once-in-a-lifetime 
collectible. Included in this history-making card series 
are 100 premium quality trading cards featuring all-new, 
exclusive on-the-set photography taken during the 
filming of the final episodes of the most successful 
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SkyBox has produced three unique versions of this 
complete set, each featuring the 100-card series, a 
different bonus collectible and a certificate of 
authenticity. Each edition is strictly limited to 
50,000 sets, and is individually numbered. 
Own a piece of Star Trek history-order today! 

k V 





The 100-card set, and 
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It's that moment just afteryou rip it off, when 
the circuits are still pumping 'cause they 
don't know what hit 'em, and they've got that 
expression on their face like "Hey that's my 
arm!".. .the first gush of oil from the open 
socket. ..the lights in their eyes going 
dim. ..yeah, that's ^^ when I know.. .I'm alive. 

Organic Virus Derivatives 
make Lockjaw attack 
without provocation! 


L WM^ 

No human being could survive 

Necroborg's 100,000 Watt 

Electrical Charge! 






7JI:f.TMW l 


Projectile Warfare: Fireball vs. 
Tetra Basic Acid Spit! 

IMlll\<;n 'v. RISE 2 RESURRECTION'" ii 







Salvo's Cybernetic Inferno 
completes a 12 Hit Chaos Combo!